Birmingham’s eighth annual Frankfurt Christmas market will bring more than just Glühwein, bratwursts and beer to the second city.

Birmingham City Council expects more than two million visitors to inject millions of pounds into the local economy.

The market, in the shadow of the Council House in Victoria Square and New Street, is the biggest of its kind outside Germany or Austria.

The market runs until December 23 and will feature traditional stalls selling handmade toys, Christmas decorations, jewellery, clothing and crafts. A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: “The Christmas market is a hugely successful event which has grown year on year and now attracts more than 2 million visitors over its six-week run.

“Visitors not only shop at the stalls, but spend millions in the city’s shops, restaurants, hotels and other businesses. This is in addition to the money spent in the local economy by more than 400 stall holders and staff who come from Germany, all of whom need places to stay, eat and visit. In addition, many of these stall holders employ local staff, so it is a great event for Birmingham.”

A spokesman for Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry added: “The German market attracts many visitors to the city centre, greatly boosts the local economy and generates an air of festivity.”

Visitors to this year’s market will be able to enjoy the delights of German mulled wine, grilled sausages, pretzels and German beer.

Those with a sweet tooth can sample the gingerbread and marzipan sweets, crepes, and a range of traditional German breads and pastries that are baked fresh on site every day.

From Thursday November 20 the market will be joined by the returning homegrown craft market.

This year’s fair is almost double the size of last year with nearly 50 stalls filling Chamberlain Square, and also for the first time on Centenary Way bridge (through Paradise Forum).

Stalls will be offering a huge range of locally hand-crafted items, including decorative ironwork, wood carvings, handbags, toys, musical instruments and organic soaps and cosmetics.

There will also be a huge range of locally produced food and drink that includes organic sausages and real ale from local micro-breweries, as well as home-made chutneys and cheeses.

A helter-skelter and carousel are being laid on to keep children entertained, and live music and carols will be performed every lunchtime and evening from a bandstand in Victoria Square.

There will also be a series of special events, which begin this Saturday with a family day offering free activities and special offers for children.

Other events will be held on Saturday, December 6, to mark St Nikolaus Day, the highlight of Advent in Germany.

The popular open-air Carols in the City returns on Saturday, December 13.

The Frankfurt market is open between 10am and 9pm.