Daley Plaza is once again aglow with twinkling lights and filled with red and white striped huts as the Christkindlmarket welcomes Chicagoans and visitors to the 2011 holiday season. The Christkindlmarket has become so popular that it is no longer just a German tradition–it is a Chicago tradition. Although, the market seems like it has always been part of the Chicago holiday scene–it has only been in Chicago for 16 years. Below are 10 more facts that may surprise you.
1. 1996 was the first year of the Christkindlmarket Chicago. It was originally located at Pioneer Court and ran only 2 weeks.
2. The 1996 Christkindlmarket attracted 300,000 visitors.
3. The Christkindlmarket Chicago 2011 will last 32 consecutive days with over 1 million guests expected.
4. The most popular ornament purchased by visitors at the Christkindlmarket is the German Christmas pickle.
5. 65 % of all displays present products from Germany and Europe. The remaining 35 % represent products from the Americas, South East Asia, Israel and Africa.
6. The most popular mug is the boot shaped mug served with hot chocolate or Gluehwein (hot wine). The mug is specially designed each year for the Christkindlmarket. It may also be purchased without a beverage for $6.00.
7. There are over 50 vendors at the Christkindlmarket Chicago.
8. The original Christkind from Nuremberg, Germany has been coming to the Christkindlmarket Chicago every year, since 1997.
9. The Christkindlmarket Chicago has visitors from 35 US States and Countries including Germany, France, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK with over 77% of visitors coming from Chicago and Illinois.
10. Over 70% of visitors return every year.
The Christkindlmarket Chicago will be open daily through December 24, 2011.