The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, celebrating its 40th year and previously scheduled for Nov. 11-15 at NRG Center, has been canceled, organizers announced Sept. 16, citing health concerns over COVID-19.

Instead, the 2020 Virtual Nutcracker Market will launch Nov. 11 for early bird sales, then Nov. 12 for all shoppers.

“Despite our best efforts, there simply was not a feasible way to host a safe event at the level that our merchants and shoppers expect and deserve,” said Patsy Chapman, CEO of Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, in the announcement. “While we remained hopeful for our event to continue as planned, this is the best decision for the health and safety of everyone involved."

The 2019 market drew over 100,000 visitors who generated more than $20.4 million in sales, with proceeds benefiting the Houston Ballet. The spring 2020 market was also moved to a virtual format amid COVID-19.

More than 200 merchants have signed on to participate in the 2020 Virtual Nutcracker Market, according to the release. They come from all over the U.S. offering holiday items, home decor, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, toys, accessories, pet items, candles and more.

“We thank everyone who has been rallying behind Nutcracker Market,” Chapman said. “This is not what we envisioned for our 40th year, but we look forward to celebrating in person and in style with our fans and supporters again next year.”

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