We made it! In my book, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. As I was updating my ‘What to Do’ list, I decided to expand my roster of German Christmas Markets. Last year, Tony and I visited the Lake Mohawk market in Sparta, NJ and prior to that, we strolled the streets of downtown historic Bethlehem, PA. And, while there’s a proper market somewhere in Bethlehem (noted below), with a proper admission fee, we only made our through downtown and its smattering of outdoor stalls.
In searching for the ultimate list of German Markets in the Nor’east, I relied heavily on two sites: Germanfoods.org and GermangirlinAmerica.com; both worth checking out. They, along with some serious google searching, enabled me to create this fantastic, non-exhaustive list of Christkindlmarkts in the Nor’east:
November 9 – 11
Canandaigua Christkindl Market, Canandaigua, NY – Set in Western New York’s Finger Lakes region, this festival features traditional German food and “Gideon’s Grog” along with local food and wine. Held outside the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, each year a Christkindl Angel reigns over the event. For the little ones, there’s an Elf School where kids can create holiday ornaments, make their own reindeer food, and fashion a paper lantern to use in the town’s Lantern Parade.
Bavarian Club Edelweiss Westchester Christkindlmarkt, Valhalla, NY – Featuring more than 20 vendors the Club’s Christkindlmarkt offers up fabulous German foods, imported candies, handmade crafts and wonderfully delicious German cookies, breads, and stolen. And, of course, a visit from St Nikolaus and live music rounds out the festivities.
November 16, 2018
Deutscher Club, Clark NJ – Known to be an “Oasis for German-Americans in New Jersey” this appears to be a quasi-exclusive club. Periodically, throughout the year, the Club plays hosts to a variety of events which are open to the public, their Christkindlmarkt being one such event. While I don’t know much about the market itself, knowing Germans and knowing people from New Jersey, I’m placing my bets and saying this is probably one of the more authentic and festive markets in the region.
November 16 – December 23 (weekends)
Christkindlmarkt, Bethlehem, PA – Located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem is a dynamic city filled with world-class events and festivals, a rich history, and some of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Bethlehem’s Christkindlmarket features live holiday music, great food, children’s rides and St. Nicholas. The market begins on Friday, November 16th and runs weekends until December 23rd.
November 22 – December 24
Christmas Village Philadelphia and Christmas Village Baltimore – Running daily from Thanksgiving through Christmas, with a preview weekend on November 17th and 18th, Christmas Village in Philadelphia and Baltimore brings the charm of an authentic German Christmas market to each city. Fashioned after a traditional German Christmas Market, there are more than 80 wooden booths with vendors selling European foods, sweets, drinks, arts and crafts and a ‘rich variety of holiday gifts.’ In Baltimore, the market commences on Saturday, November 24th and, in Philadelphia, on Sunday November 25th by the Nuremberg Christkind. Coming across the pond for these two stops only, the Nuremberg Christkind recites a traditional prologue to open each Market.
November 23 – December 23
Downtown DC Holiday Market – Depending on which site you read, this may, or may not be fashioned after a German Christmas Market. Germanfoods.org will be on hand with hard-to-find, authentic German Christmas confectioneries, baking ingredients, gift baskets, hand-made pretzels, stollen, glueh-cider and more. Located on the F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery between 7th & 9th Streets, NW, the Market is open from Noon – 8 pm and features approximately 200 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses.
Weihnachts Markt, Potomac, MD – Celebrating its 50th year, the Friends of the German International School’s, the nation’s largest German School, annual Christmas bazaar offers homemade authentic Christmas cookies and cakes, German and Swiss style sausages and meat products, handmade Christmas decorations, original wood carvings from the Erzgebirge region of Saxony, Christmas Carols sung by the German International School Choir, and a host of activities for the little ones.
December 1 & 2
The Lake Mohawk Weihnachtsmarkt, Sparta, NJ – Ranked “One of the Top Ten Things to Do in December in the State” – Lake Mohawk’s magical German Christmas Market beckons all with beautifully crafted and unique gifts from vendors near and afar. The authentic wooden huts attract approximately 20,000 visitors to the area each year the Market is now recognized as the largest Annual Christmas Market in the State. “Tantalizing smells dance among the vendors set along the picturesque lakefront, as traditional items from sizzling German sausages, sumptuous soups, goulash and sauerbraten to hand warming hot chocolate, apple struedel, linzer tarts, and gingerbread men and warmed mulled spice wine (gluhwein) are prepared among the festive chorus’ of local school choirs and entertainers.”
December 13 – 15
Mifflinburg Christkindl Market, Mifflinburg, PA – What started, back in 1987, as one man’s dream (and his wife), has grown into a market that claims to be the oldest, outdoor Christmas market in the US. It’s also lauded as being more authentic than most German Christmas markets. The Market features more than 100 vendors and the local air is filled, for the weekend, with the aroma of Bratwurst, Apfelstrudel, Hungarian goulash, and Glühwein (hot mulled wine).
Possible, yet to be determined markets, held in the last week of November/early December:
Some Markets, supposedly long-standing traditions, have yet to announce their 2018 dates. Below are some of the more popular Markets that may/may not be happening this year:
Christkindlmarkt at Zion Church, Baltimore, MD – Feast on authentic German foods, stock your pockets with imported holiday goodies including Stollen, Lebkuchen, Advent calendars and Glühwein, and buy your loved one’s unique crafts including handmade snowflakes, Santas and elves, floral arrangements, along with real Erzgebirge figurines, smokers and steins. Note, their website is woefully out of date, but they do post frequent updates to their Facebook page.
Hartford Saengerbund in Newington, CT holds its traditional Christkindlmarkt showcasing handmade crafts and works of art by the finest artisans, the heart-warming sounds and sights of live Christmas music and pageantry, delicious German food specialties.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park, NJ – Not sure if this is a weekly or weekend only thing. Last year, the Christkindmarkt began the last weekend of November. Festhalle & Biergarten is ‘an authentic biergarten experience’ welcoming guests and inviting them to ‘join in the centuries-old European tradition – communal tables where friends and soon-to-be-new-friends mingle in a lively, friendly atmosphere energized by a regular schedule of live & local music.’ It sounds fun and I had it on last year’s ‘Things To Do’ list. Check it out if you’re in the area. And, if the market isn’t in the cards, check out the ‘Women Who Whiskey’ event on November 15th…that might just be more up my alley.
As I continue planning and plotting and giddily look upon the holiday season, I wish you and your loved one’s happy trails and bon appetite…