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Always Free Admission


288 Days ‘til our festival of German Christmas December 7 to 10, 2017

Folklore, History and Awards

Experience the joy of our international phenomenon

Every Christmas, since medieval times, towns and cities across Germany have come alive with outdoor markets of cute wooden booths and stalls, full of traditional handmade Christmas ornaments,
nutcrackers, wooden figurines, delicious German foods to suit every taste, music and dancing.

These are just some of the sights, sounds and smells of your authentic German Christmas Market experience at Christkindl, where you will be welcomed by the oldest and largest German community in Canada – and by folkloric German Christmas characters like the Christkindl, Angels, Knecht Ruprecht and Klaus the Organ Grinder.

Stalls selling mulled wine and delicious sugar-coated Stollen fruit cakes. The smell of apples, cinnamon, baked treats and grilled sausages fill the air. Choirs sing carols and visitors join in. The sounds of blacksmiths' hammers and organ grinders remind of a time long forgotten. Orchestras and brass bands play and dancing troupes dance through the streets. As night falls, a giant Christmas tree comes to life, filling the town square with twinkling lights and glittering ornaments, and dancing gives way to skating under the stars. Today, Christkindl markets have been exported around the world, spreading the unique spirit and experience that is German Christmas, to millions of people seeking to create magical memories of the season for their families.

A centuries-old German tradition

Christmas markets have been part of this festive time for centuries in Germany. They were usually held in front of churches and were looked at as part of a church visit. The oldest recorded market dates to 1310 in Munich, Germany. It was called "Nikolausdult" and was very different from the markets of today. It was an opportunity for farmers to come to town, do some shopping and at the same time, offer their wares.

The reformation of the church in the 16th century brought changes to the Christmas markets. Nikolaus was replaced by the Christkindl (Christchild) as the gift giver and the Nikolaus markets became Christkindl markets. This custom began in the Protestant areas of Bavaria with Nuremberg being the first city to call its market "Christkindlesmarkt." Munich, a Catholic city, changed its "Nikolausdult" to "Christkindlmarkt" in 1805.

"This little town is built from wood and canvas. Its splendour's short,
will soon be gone. But yet it is eternal. My market is forever young..."

From Nuremberg's Prologue of the Christ Child, an essential part of the Christkindl Market opening ceremonies.

For over 600 years German communities have continued the tradition of erecting Christmas markets in the central square of their cities and towns – erecting tiny wooden huts where cooks, artisans and merchants could peddle their wares, and providing a place where people could meet to share songs, food and gifts. We’ve continued that tradition, bringing together more than 70 vendors of local artisana handicraft, decorations, jewellery, food and more. With an emphasis on Old World European theme and flavour, you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind gifts and treasures – to sample on-site, or to take home for
family and friends.

Founded in 1996

Christkindl Market was brought to Kitchener's City Hall by founder Tony Bergmeier. It was designed to breathe life into the core of downtown Kitchener. Today, over 35,000 visitors from across North America come to experience our award-winning festival.

Awards

Top 100 Festivals & Events Ontario

Christkindl Market celebrates being named one of the Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario, presented by VIA Rail Canada.

Top 50 Festivals & Eventstop 50 festivals logo

Christkindl Market continues to qualify as "Top 50" Festivals and Events in Ontario.

Top 10 Events & Best New Festival

feo award

Christkindl Market was awarded ‘Best New Festival by Festivals and Events Ontario and 'Top 10 Events in Ontario.' Other awards include: Oktoberfest Parade - Wunderbar, Harvest, Sponsorship and Spirit and Enthusiasm. Kitchener Downtown Business Association (KDBA) - Arts and Culture Contribution.

Ontario Volunteer Service Award Winner 2013

Christkindl Market is only possible through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. In 2013, Ontario Volunteer Service Award recipients included Seven (7) Christkindl Market Committee Members! *

(l to r) * Warren Stauch, * Monica Reid, * Yvonne Heidrich, John Milloy MPP, Astrid Braun President, * Herta Eichinger, * Gerhard Griebenow, * Richard Bruckeder (not in photo * Sonja Pratt)

Previous Commercials

Christkindl Market 2012 TV Commercial

RogersTV Daytime show + Christkindl's Astrid Braun + Monica Reid

U Tube Video by Ghinel Bozek with vendors, visitors, Astrid Braun + Monica Reid

Watch 2012 TV Commercial

Watch a previous Christkindl on
Rogers TV Daytime
November 29, 2011

Or, 2010

See Ghinel Bozek's video on
YouTube December 2009

More Information

Checkout our 2015 Christkindl Market Brochure

Kitchener City Hall  Free Admission!

It was amazing what wonders it did for us! From the lights and the music and the smells and watching everyone smiling and laughing...it instantly lifted our spirits and helped us keep them there through the whole holiday. Now we can't wait year to year for the first ads and we rush to mark it on the calendars. We always go the Friday night, no kids or friends, just us - to sit and take it all in. You don't know what you are missing until you have been there!" - Letter from
The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Kitchener
Wonderful Tradition!
It brings back memories of Germany during the Christmas season!
Just like Germany! Love the organ grinder!
Our family has been coming to the Christkindl Market in Kitchener for five years now. We absolutely love it there. The sights, sounds and smells really put us in the Christmas spirit. This has become a very cherished part of our Christmas traditions. Three generations of our family take part in it. What a special time is had by all. Thanks for the memories...already looking forward to next year.
I will be there again to enjoy my childhood memories all over again, not to forget the food and smells of this special time.
Great Job - Christkindl Market! Saves us a trip to Germany!
I just want to thank the team that sets up the Christmas Tree and oversees Christkindl. What a wonderful way to spend a lunch hour! I go every year on Thursday and Friday. I LOVE it! It just lifts the spirits and is so "magical"! Thank you for such a wonderful experience, every year!
We absolutely love it! It's been a family tradition to go to the German Christmas market at the Toronto International Centre since I was a small child back in the 70's and 80's. Now I have children of my own and we have been coming to the Kitchener Christkindl Market for the past 10 years. We stay at a nearby bed and breakfast go to the farmers market and then the Chirstkindl. It's a beautiful weekend that we look forward to all year long. I love the whole German feel. My mother was German from Darmstadt. We grew up speaking German with all the German customs and festivities. Christmas and Nikolaus Tag were our favourites. Your Christkindl still captures that traditional German feel with the products, food, childrens/adult choir and German people. The smell of the the roasted beer nuts, bratwurst, goulash soup, saurkraut, potato pancakes and blacksmith fire in the crisp, cold winter air creates a feeling in me that I cannot explain. It really makes me and my family feel wonderful and happy. With all the craziness in today's world, it's so good to know we can disappear for a weekend in the warmth and nostalgia of the Christkindl.
Vielen Dank dass Sie diese herrliche Tradition aus Deutschland herueber gebracht haben. Ich wuenschte wir koennten jaehrlich kommen um den Christkindl Markt zu besuchen.
Love it. Traditional December event we all look forward to at our house. Thanks!
Santa does not have to be in a red suit The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Kitchener: My four-year-old daughter; two-year-old son, my Mom and I had gone to Christkindl on Dec 7. My son was in total rapture as he looked upon a display of moving toys. To the right of me was a lady watching my son's gazing and dreamy state. The lady took a box with the toy inside and shoved it under my arm; my reaction was no, no, no. I looked at this kind-hearted lady and she said she wanted to buy it for the little guy, and that she was going to be thinking about him on Christmas morning as he unwraps his gift from her. I want her to know Santa does not have to be in a red suit with bells on and a beard. He could also be a she, a kind and special lady.
Wonderful! My husband is German- was like home for him! Visiting is becoming a yearly tradition! Thanks!
It is well organized
Beautiful. Love the nativity and ornaments. Everything ist wunderbar
My husband's family is German and up until we visited the Christkindl Market a few years ago I only had stories and some samplings of the different Christmas foods from Germany from his family. Until we visited your wonderful market I never really understood the fascination my husband has always had for German Christmas. Since that first visit my husband starts planning our next visit in October! He wouldn't miss it for the world and I have come to appreciate his heritage even more through experiencing this bit of Germany in Canada! Every year we bring our teenagers and invite our friends. Thank you for all your hard work - Christmas isn't Christmas for us now without the Christkindl Market!
I took my daughter for the first time 5 years ago and what a special event this was for both of us. We visited the manger live nativity scene, it was beautiful. We listened to the Christmas music, I can't believe how just humming a little Christmas song can put you in such good spirits with yourself and others. Christmas is the one time of the year that people actually look at others and smile, wishing them the very best. It's a shame we can't be like this throughout the year.
Can you please do a candlelight precession on Friday and Saturday nights too?
Wonderful - An annual event for myself!
Thank you, for bringing to our community the Christkindl Market, an event that has rekindled in the hearts of so many, the wonder and joy, the excitement and awe of those memorable Christkindl Markets in Germany so many years ago. Thanks for your vision, your dream and your spirit. You make it possible for people of another age, a new generation, and varied cultures to enjoy the magic. Our hearts quicken at the sound of the fanfare at the opening ceremony and our eyes grow misty to the sweet sound of the music and song that fills the winter air...
As always, our family enjoyed the Christkindl Market so very much! Thank you for nurturing this tradition in Kitchener - we hope it keeps going for many, many years... Thank you once again for a wonderful Christmas experience our family has made part of our yearly tradition!
Kindling the Christmas Spirit -I remember the first year of the Market about 10 years ago. Snow falling gently, beautiful German music playing outside, high quality Christmas goods for purchase from friendly vendors, hot-mulled cider, the nativity scene, the skaters - what atmosphere!!! The magic has hooked me ever since. So much different from the mall! Thanks for kindling the Christmas spirit.
I'm now feeling the Christmas Spirit. Thank you!
Thank you all for making this German Christmas festival a reality so that we can enjoy the Christmas season and make many special memories for ourselves and more importantly for our children. To another 100 years of Christkindl Market, Kitchener! Frohe Weihnachten
The joy is yours!
Ich war nur mal zu einem Christkindl Markt. Das war circa 1975 in Pforzheim im Schwarzen Wald. Ich kann mich noch nach all diesen Jahren an die wunderbaren Lichter und Aromas, so wie all die schoene Musik und die Weihnachts Stimmung, ganz gut erinnern, als wenn es gestern war. Vielen Dank dass Sie diese herrliche Tradition aus Deutschland herueber gebracht haben. Ich wuenschte wir koennten jaehrlich kommen um den Christkindl Markt zu besuchen.
My mom has taken my brother and I to the Christkindl Market ever since it first opened. We felt surrounded by love and happiness and enjoyed being around the German community - especially because we could not be with our family in Germany at Christmas. I still remember and still feel the warm feelings I first felt when I visit the Christkindl Market. I always make sure I attend each year with my Mom and now take my daughter along as well. I hope she too will be able to attend for years to come and in the future, bring her children as well.
Love your market!!
If you can't be at a Christmas Market in Germany, the Christkindl Market in Oktoberfest City (Kitchener, Ontario), is the closest it can get. They even have real, hot mulled wine, a staple at every German Weihnachtsmarkt. For us, visiting the market in Kitchener was a few hours back home away from home. Very nice!
Ich Liebe Christkindl Markt
Herrliche Tradition aus Deutschland - Ich war nur mal zu einem Christkindl Markt. Das war circa 1975 in Pforzheim im Schwarzen Wald. Ich kann mich noch nach all diesen Jahren an die wunderbaren Lichter und Aromas, so wie all die schoene Musik und die Weihnachts Stimmung, ganz gut erinnern, als wenn es gestern war.
"Homesick" for the sights, smells and sounds of Germany. I had been living in a small town in the Black Forest region while I was teaching on the Canadian Forces Base in Lahr. On my return to Stratford, I found the Kitchener Christkindl Market. Somehow, I did not feel quite as "homesick" for the sights, smells and sounds of Germany! It is a wonderful experience, one I look forward to every year.
Nice! I just moved back from living in Europe for 9 years, this was so nice!
Love the Market! It's my first time here and it's been awesome! Thank you!
Think Oktoberfest, except that the beer is replaced with Christmas cheer.
Christmas spirit ... we'd like to see all of the vendors. It's a wonderful event and my Christmas spirit doesn't begin until I attend your festival
Love it-part of my yearly Christmas tradition!
As we entered the building, we saw so many beautiful Angels, and so many beautiful ornaments, so unique to this event that you couldn't buy them anywhere else. What a memory. My daughter and I attend this event each and every year. It's like our own tradition, just for the 2 of us. It's a night out together to bond, celebrate the holidays and of course to look for that very special Christmas ornament for this year.
It is awesome! This reminds me of all of the traditional Christmas markets I saw in Germany. I loved the markets in Germany and miss them a great deal, how nice it is to relive a bit of the atmosphere here in Kitchener.
Excellent community spirit and great event for family. Loved the food, gluhwein, apple fritters, sauerkraut..
My two-year-old son, was in total rapture as he looked upon a display of moving toys. A lady was watching my son's dreamy state. This kind-hearted lady said she wanted to buy it for my little guy, and that she was going to be thinking about him on Christmas morning as he unwraps his gift from her. I want her to know Santa does not have to be in a red suit with bells on and a beard. He could also be a she, a kind and special lady.
As the rest of the world gallops forward, there is a tradition that keeps people in Waterloo Region firmly rooted in the past, at least during Christmas. The annual four-day Christkindl Market opens Thursday in front of Kitchener City Hall, recreating a Bavarian tradition first officially recorded in 1310. The original market, called Nikolausdult, was designed as a temporary affair constructed from wood and canvas and erected in front of a church. Visitors from far and wide would arrive to both sell and purchase items, some from other countries, giving the market an international flavour. Then in a few days, it would all disappear. "It's about tradition," she said. "That's what people are looking for." The market features vendors, selling all manner of items: German-made toys, handcrafted jewelry, art glass items, gift baskets, beeswax candles, gifts, chocolate and marzipan, original art, music, leather, hand-painted wearable art, tree decorations, music boxes and everyone's favourite, apple fritters. Christkindl Market takes over much of city hall, both inside and out, with gift vendors indoors and food outdoors on Civic Square, where they will pander to anyone with a hankering for Germanic food, including schnitzel, marinated herring and Schinken on a bun as well as the regular crowd pleasers such as sausage, potato pancakes, stollen and waffles. This is no time to go on a diet. And for those needing a rest, the 10th floor has been turned into a place to sit, relax and eat your goodies.
Love the market, reminds me of my time living in Germany
We love it! It gets us in the Christmas spirit!
Love this festival - begins Christmas!
Christmas spirit ...we like to see all of the vendors. It's a wonderful event and my Christmas spirit doesn't begin until I attend your festival.
"I will be there again on the Saturday to enjoy my childhood memories all over again, not to forget the food and smells of this special time."
Nice to preserve our cultural heritage. We really enjoyed the train room
...we'd like to see all of the vendors. It's a wonderful event and my Christmas spirit doesn't begin until I attend your festival.

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