Over the last 18 years Christkindlmarket has become as much a part of Chicago's holiday season as the jolly old elf himself.
The European holiday market, which will be open for 29 days starting November 26, is lined with candy cane stripped wooden huts and brightened by twinkling lights. It has become the heart of Chicago's holiday celebrations.
Conveniently located on Daley Plaza in Chicago's Loop, Theatre District and central business district, the market draws office workers, pre-theatre goers, families and out-of-town visitors from around the world.
Many make it part of their daily routine to stop by to grab a bite of one or more of the 70 different German delicacies such as sausages, potato pancakes and schnitzel or something sweet like stollen or strudel.
Others warm up with a hot pretzel, hot chocolate, a cup of Glühwein (hot spiced wine) in a collectable souvenir mug...or the always popular brat and a beer.
There is something for everyone at the market with entertainment, special activities, and one-of-a-kind handmade gifts that you're won't find just anywhere including: hand-blown and hand-painted ornaments of all colors, materials and sizes; nutcrackers; cuckoo-clocks; beer steins; wooden toys; jewelry plus beautiful handmade sweaters, jackets and mittens perfect for Chicago's cold winter.
More than 65% of the vendors travel directly from Germany to Chicago for the market.
Vendors including the world-famous Christmas Store Kathe Wohlfahrt, Alpine Heritage, an Austrian maker of Kastenkrippen, miniature and highly detailed Nativity scenes and Lauschaer Glass from the town of Lauscha, where glass ball ornaments were first blown will be selling and in some cases demonstrating how their handicrafts are made.
Throughout the 29-day event, the Christkindlmarket will host live entertainment and performances.
- Every weekend, the roaming Alpine Brass band plays festive German traditional and popular holiday music.
- Appearances by the Christkind, the namesake and symbol of the market.
- The annual Children’s Lantern Parade, which celebrates St. Martin’s Day.
- The Alpine Trio plays upbeat tunes Friday and Saturday evenings in the Festival Tent and Grand Timber House.
- The Advent Calendar starting on the first day of Advent, December 1st, picks one lucky visitor each day to open a door on the larger-than-life 6 ft. tall Calendar, and receive a gift from one of the market’s vendors--with a different gift for each daily winner through December 24th.
- Daily performances by school groups, professional singers, and dance groups.
New last year, the “Kinder Korner” for kids will return for 2013. The "Korner" hands out ornamental paper crowns and a Christkindlmarket Passport, to be used at passport stamping stations around the market. In addition there are arts, crafts, riddles to be solved, scavenger hunts and more giving children an opportunity to explore the market, interact with the vendors, and learn about German holiday traditions.
The free admission market will be open daily from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, and Christmas Eve December 24, the market will close at 4 p.m. The market runs from November 26 until December 24, 2013. The market is located on Daley Plaza, at 60 W. Washington, between Clark and Dearborn.
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