Steins and sausages: Birmingham's Christmas market opens
As Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas and craft market opens for its 15th year, BBC News looks at a few facts and figures surrounding the annual event.
It was first held as a one-off event in 1997 before becoming a yearly fixture in 2001, growing from just 24 stalls into a veritable village.
While not without its critics, the market has become an annual pilgrimage for office workers nipping out for a few glasses of warm wine and a hefty sausage in a roll - otherwise known as Glühwein and Bratwurst.
Murky November weather is made festive by snow machines and, after a few hot ciders, novelty nutcrackers and wooden Christmas-tree decorations seem not only desirable, but essential.
Organiser Birmingham City Council recommends "picking up some presents for your family - or indeed yourself - in the form of the ever-favourite crystal lamps, Sounds of Nature, hand-crafted leatherwork, rugs, and much more besides," as well as enjoying a few steins of Weissbeer.
An animatronic singing moose head serenades shoppers with festive earworms and is so popular he has his own Twitter account, where he posts jokes including such gems as:
What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas?
Cross Mouse Cards!
The Frankfurt market is centred in Victoria Square in front of the Council House and stretches down to the Rotunda. The Craft Market and ice rink are in Centenary Square.
The steins and sausages disappear from Birmingham on 22 December, when the five-week shindig comes to an end - until next year.