Imagine entering a Victorian village with quaint cottages bursting with gifts, delicious food and drink, carolers singing Christmas songs, and amusement rides for the kids.
You’ve entered Yuletide at Devon at the iconic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The decorations and lights make an enchanting backdrop to wander about, sample food and drinks, and shop or ride a Ferris wheel or old-fashioned carousel.
Villanova resident Bob Bickhart, owner of event company Spectacle Reality, and his son, Jes Bickhart, a producer in Los Angeles, welcomed people at a press preview last Monday. Yuletide at Devon runs until Dec. 31.
“This is a first-of-its-kind festival,” said Jes Bickhart. “It combines food and wine. It combines rides and music. You can see a 2,000-foot stage being built now. It’s fun to bring all these elements together to celebrate the holidays, to celebrate family.”
Bob Brickhart said it was “a pleasure” to work with the Devon Horse Show people, the folks at Tredyffrin and Easttown townships, food provider Strother, and sponsors Aqua PA and Independence Blue Cross.
Bob Bickhart told DVJournal they had been thinking of bringing a German-style Christmas market, such as Saltzburg, to the suburbs for several years and looked at venues, including sites in Doylestown and Lancaster County.
But he is pleased that they were able to strike a deal to rent the Devon Horse Show grounds.
“We wanted to take advantage of it if we could make it work,” he said. “We want to be a celebration of the holiday. We’d love to be back (next year).”
Many of the 37 small shops were filled with winter sweaters, hats, gloves and mittens, such as an offering from Cranberry Street Boutique of Royerford. Others had jewelry or toys on display.
Melissa Morales brought a variety of her handmade, organic Melmo’s dog treats, cat treats, and various items, such as charming dog breed nutcrackers, that will appeal to pet owners.
Morales, of South Philadelphia, has been in business for six years. She has booths at two other Christmas venues, one in Easton and one in Bethlehem. Her products are also available at Giant stores and online.
Chris LeVine, with the Inn at Grace Winery in Glen Mills, was also on hand getting his onsite shop squared away.
“We grow it,” said LeVine. “We bottle it. We sell it. We’re pleased to be here.”
Strother Enterprises’ Legacy Culinary Group curated a festive menu for guests to enjoy while attending the holiday festival. Minority-owned and Philadelphia-based Legacy Culinary Group, led by Chef Chris Nguyen, offers Devon a gourmet farm-to-table experience. Both Yuletide and Strother are family-owned and operated.
The menu will include internationally inspired dishes like creamy mac and cheese cups topped with brisket burnt ends, currywurst and pomme frites, lemongrass chicken, grilled short ribs Bulgogi, fried chicken and waffles, prosciutto and arugula pizza, Thai noodle salad, grilled raclette on sourdough with fig jam, and banana Nutella crepes.
The food is paired with craft drinks, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic holiday-themed beverages.
“We are excited to partner with Jes and Rob to bring this one-of-a-kind holiday festival to the region,” said Natasha Strother Lassiter, chief strategy officer of Strother Enterprises. “We’ve designed an elevated menu exclusively for Yuletide to celebrate the time-honored tradition of holiday gatherings. Guests will enjoy a festive, farm-to-table food experience where every dish will speak to our legacy of timeless, world-class cuisine.”
Tickets are $34.99 for adults and $22.99 for children 3 to 8. Children younger than 3 are free. Food, drinks, live music, pictures with Santa, and amusement rides are included.