Christkindl Mar­ket car­ries on tra­di­tion

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - TRAVEL - JIM FOX ONE TANK TRIPS

Ev­ery­thing’s “wun­der­bar” in Kitch­ener with the next big event af­ter Ok­to­ber­fest — the Christkindl Mar­ket — woo­ing the crowds.

Re­flect­ing Kitch­ener’s Ger­man her­itage, the free event from Dec. 6 to 9 at Kitch­ener city hall recre­ates the cen­turies-old tra­di­tion that’s a feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds.

Since medieval times, towns and cities across Ger­many come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Christ­mas.

The old­est known Ger­man Christ­mas mar­ket was in Mu­nich in 1310 and as the cus­tom of giv­ing gifts grew, so did the Yule­tide mar­kets, reach­ing Kitch­ener — orig­i­nally called Ber­lin — in 1997.

Some 40,000 peo­ple visit an­nu­ally to shop the wooden booths and stalls full of tra­di­tional hand­made or­na­ments, nut­crack­ers and wooden fig­urines.

Suc­cu­lent foods in­clude Ger­man sausages, lebkucken (spice cake) and steam­ing mugs of gluh­wein (mulled wine).

You’ll be greeted by folk­loric char­ac­ters: Christkindl (Christ child), the gift bringer, and her angels; farm­hand Knecht Ruprecht, com­pan­ion of St. Ni­cholas; and Klaus, the or­gan grinder.

Or­ches­tras and brass bands play and danc­ing troupes fill the town square as choirs sing car­ols and the sounds of black­smiths’ ham­mers re­mind visitors of a time long ago.

The trans­formed square, with its Christ­mas tree, twin­kling lights and glit­ter­ing or­na­ments, in­cludes an out­door skat­ing rink.

In­side city hall, about 100 ven­dors of­fer hand­crafted and tradi- tional gifts, or­na­ments, toys, jewelry, flo­rals, ce­ram­ics, stained glass and carv­ings.

There’s a live na­tiv­ity scene, films, chil­dren’s crafts, pot­tery cen­tre and a model rail­way dis­play.

The of­fi­cial open­ing in­cludes a night­time pro­ces­sion to city hall led by “Mary” and “Joseph,” with marchers car­ry­ing can­dles as church bells ring and trum­pets sound en route to a manger where they spend the evening.

Park­ing is free Satur­day and Sun­day at city hall and the Duke Street and On­tario Street garages.

Hours are Thurs­day (Dec. 6)

and Fri­day (Dec. 7), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Satur­day (Dec. 8), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sun­day (Dec. 9), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See christkindl.ca Other Christ­mas mar­kets

Th­ese other mar­kets sim­i­lar to Kitch­ener’s will “get you into the merry mood” — as Des­ti­na­tions On­tario says — with fes­tive en­ter­tain­ment, hol­i­day carollers, sparkling lights, hot cider and mulled wine.

• Toronto Christ­mas Mar­ket, through Dec. 23, Dis­tillery His­toric Dis­trict with its her­itage build­ings, cob­ble­stone laneways and fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions.

• The Mu­seum’s Christ­mas Mar­ket, un­til Sun­day, Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory in Gatineau with food, hand-made dec­o­ra­tions, wood­craft, glass items, jewelry and more.

• Hol­i­day Street Mar­ket, Satur­day and Dec. 8, out­doors on Main Street in Mil­ton with ar­ti­san stalls, food, mulled wine, craft beer, arts and crafts, work­shops, fire pits to roast marsh­mal­lows and “your favourite jolly fel­low dressed in red.”

• Fair in the Square, Satur­day to Dec. 23, ex­cept Mon­days, Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, a Euro­pean-style event with a crack­ling fire, gourmet good­ies, ice-skat­ing, ar­ti­san crafts and an ice bar from Jack­son Triggs.

• Ot­tawa Christ­mas Mar­ket, Sun­day to Dec. 23 (se­lect days), Aberdeen Pav­il­ion in Lans­downe Park with crafts and food.

• Kingston Out­door Christ­mas Mar­ket, Dec. 8 and 9, his­toric Hochelaga Inn, in­spired by Euro­pean out­door mar­kets with lo­cal mak­ers, live en­ter­tain­ment, food, drink, lights, carol singing and Santa. one­tank­[email protected]­mail.com For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tank­trips.blogspot.ca On the Web For event de­tails visit on­tar­i­o­travel. net/en/plan/events-cal­en­dar

Folk­loric char­ac­ters or­gan grinder Klaus and farmer Knech Ruprect are greeters at the Kitch­ener mar­ket.

TO POST­MEDIA NEWS The Toronto Christ­mas Mar­ket is at the Dis­tillery His­toric Dis­trict with its her­itage build­ings, cob­ble­stone laneways and fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions. BARB FOX/SPE­CIAL

Christkindl, Christ child, is the star of the Kitch­ener fes­tiv­i­ties.

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