Christmas Fun in July

Private Property South Africa

Christmas is coming early this year at Silverstar Casino. In a bid to offset the winter blues and provide a delightful taste of Christmas ahead of December, Silverstar, in collaboration with the Imagineering Corporation, have created a Bavarian themed Christmas village which should transport visitors to the merriest time of year.

The village has been designed to emulate a typical Bavarian Christmas market says Shane Collinson, director of operations and complex GM of Silverstar who explains that the village will offer a mix of quaint stalls festooned with hundreds of beautiful Christmas lights just like the Christmas markets in Bavaria.

Bavaria’s cities, towns and villages come alive with Christmas magic during the holiday season, a primary feature of which are the Christmas markets which run throughout the advent period from the end of November to the third week of December. The markets are generally held in town squares and each sports its own unique characteristics but common threads include decorated stalls groaning with gifts and toys and traditional specialities such as glühwein and sausages. St. Nikolaus, Germany’s Santa Claus, also visits the markets.

At Silverstar’s Christmas festival, winter goods such as sheepskin slippers, hand knitted socks and sheepskin blankets will be on sale alongside scrumptious Bavarian style delicacies ranging from traditional eisbein, sauerkraut and kartoffelsalat (potato salad) to roast chicken, sausages, a wide selection of cheese and local and imported ciders and beers.

Glühwein, hot chocolate from Wiesenhof, German chocolates, unique cakes from Kelly Jane’s Cake Boutique and doughnuts will also be on sale alongside products from Edelweiss Catering, organic olive products from Laharna Farm and Weizen Gold Weissbier from Glenfair Beers. Weizen Gold Weissbier is a top–fermented, unfiltered beer originating from Bavaria. It is known for its rich flavour and is brewed according to recipes handed down from generation to generation since 1439.

“I want visitors to experience good food, a variety of beer and the warmth of a traditional German festivity,” says Silverstar’s executive chef George Georgiou who has been tasked with heading up the majority of the food arrangements.

Georgiou is keeping mum about some of the secret ingredients being used but is happy to share a tip with those unfamiliar with German specialities, in particular German sausages. He recommends mittelscharf senf, a medium strength mustard which complements sausages to a tee. Sahnmeerrettich or horseradish enriched with cream or mustard also goes well with sausages he says. Both condiments will be available at the festival.

“Visitors can also look forward to a wide variety of entertainment,” notes Collinson. An oompah band will play at the village’s main pavilion, roving buskers and entertainers will roam the ‘streets’, Santa Clause will make appearances and a mini children’s amusement park and fairy land will feature. Bands such as Alter Irving, the Dixie Hillbillies, Beeskraal and an authentic German band called Schnapps will also perform throughout the festival.

It is worth noting that the Christmas festival is being held alongside major re-development work which is currently being carried out at Silverstar. Silverstar is set to take the form of an open air village square surrounded by leisure and entertainment facilities including six high-tech cinemas, a 12 lane bowling alley, six new restaurants, a large outdoor screen and beer garden, laser games, a refurbished casino, a large outdoor domed events arena, an upmarket indoor multipurpose events venue and additional parking. The development – which is being undertaken to the tune of R480m – is progressing as a single phase project and is being fast-tracked for completion by August 2014.

The festival runs from the 3rd to the 7th of July. Tickets cost R20 per person. Children under 12 can enter at no cost. The festival opens at 4pm from Wednesday to Friday and at 11am on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be bought from Computicket or at Silverstar.

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