Chicago Market is Taste of Germany

Market might come to Milwaukee soon

The Christkindlmarket is an open-air Christmas market that is held in Chicago, IL at Daley Plaza. It is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt, which began in 1545 in Germany. It runs from Nov. 26th to Dec. 24th.
   
The market includes over 50 vendors that sell everything from authentic German food and drink to handmade wooden figurines and ornaments. A crowd favorite is the traditional German wine, Glühwein, which comes in a souvenir mug. It is a warm wine that is mulled with spices and traditionally has a shot of brandy added.
   
Bailey Huffman of Forest Park, IL said, “I just recently moved to Chicago and this is my first time here. It's a great holiday tradition that Chicago has, and all seems very authentic.”

Kevin Jahn of Milwaukee said, “This is a great place to buy gifts for your family while you enjoy authentic German food. The Glühwein is pretty good, but the food is even better.”

Many of the food stands have the same menu consisting of bratwurst, leberkase, and potato pancakes, all of which are covered in tons of sauerkraut. Leberkase is very similar to bologna and is served fried on a bun.

“I have been to Germany, and I can tell you that all of this is very authentic,” said Brandt Huffman, UW-Madison German student. “I'm here with my German class, and I think it's a great way to soak up some of the German culture without actually being there. Plus, many of the vendors speak German so it's nice to be able to practice with fluent speakers.”

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Consulting Services needed an alternative way to advance trade between Germany and the United States. They decided to hold the 1st annual Christkindlmarket in 1996, with help from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The open-air market has been a strong holding tradition in German speaking countries since the early 1500's. It is based around the folklore of the “Christkind”, who is a majestic angel-like woman who is dressed in white robes and covered in gold. This “Christkind” is the German equivalent to America's idea of Santa Claus. On Dec. 24th, she places presents under the Christmas tree and disappears before any child can see her.

Despite this only being the 18th year of the Chicago Christkindlmarket, the concept has been around for almost 800 years. Dating back all the way to 1294 in Vienna where they held the first ever “December Market” which was a precursor to what we now know as the “Christmas Market.”

“If I end up staying in the Midwest, I know that the Christkindlmarket will be a tradition in the making for my family. It is fun for all ages, and something you can’t find everywhere.” said Bailey Huffman.

The Christkindlmarket is held during the four weeks of advent that lead up to Christmas. It is open to the public, admission is free and if you're traveling from Milwaukee, it is less than a mile away from the train station.

Good news for Milwaukee residents, beginning next year we will have our own Christkindlmarket! It will run from Thursday, Nov. 20th to Sunday, Nov. 23rd. In addition to the authentic German vendors, it will include a tree lighting, beirgarten, carriage rides, live performances, and even a 5K. 

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