Press Release - Nov. 15 2010, Kitchener Ontario
The annual celebration, which began in 1996, now attracts some 35,000 visitors annually to a four-day celebration of authentic German gifts, food, songs and dance. Doors open Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. and all events are free.
Kitchener's Christkindl is one of the largest German-style Christmas celebrations in North America.
From the moment you arrive you transported to an old-world of sparkling ornaments, high-stepping folk dancers in swirling skirts, the insistence of brass bands and barrel-chested men singing a gentle German lullaby as snow flakes drift down to settle on your hat and melt off your nose.
And everywhere, the smells of food: roasted beer nuts, bratwurst, goulash soup, sauerkraut, potato pancakes.
2008 - Christkindl Market was brought to City Hall Tony Bergmeier in 1996, to breathe life into downtown Kitchener. Tony is a native of Munich, Germany where Kristkindl Markt and Weihnachts Markt have been a tradition for centuries.
Admission and entertainment is free, thanks in part to the board of directors, committee members, hundreds of volunteers and entertainers, as well as corporate and personal sponsors.
This Festival of German Christmas has been awarded "Top 10 Events in Ontario" and "Best New Festival in Ontario" by Festival and Events Ontario. Christkindl hosts over 35,000 visitors in 5 days, and operates in close cooperation with the City of Kitchener. You can see Christkindl's award-winning float in Kitchener Waterloo's Oktoberfest and Santa Claus parades.
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Eine Gute Nacht, Rebecca Tucker, National Post, Published: Saturday, November 29, 2008
Though it's only late November, many people have already had their fill of commercial Christmas cheer. Department stores across the city have been adorned with yuletide decor since the day after Halloween, and most municipalities across the province have already hosted their annual Santa Claus parades. And with the innumerable festive plays, craft shows and events happening over the course of the next few weeks, many will feel all Christmas-ed out before the big day -- financially, if not psychologically.
The annual Christkindl festival, which takes place this coming weekend in Kitchener, roughly one hour away from Toronto, makes no qualms about being one of those festivals of traditional Christmas cheer. However, it has a few perks that set it apart from similar seasonal events -- namely, it promises not to drain your pocketbook.
People often feel the crunch this time of year," says Monica Reid, Christkindl's marketing chair. "One of the biggest advantages we have as a festival, and one that really draws people in, is the fact that [all of the events and attractions] are free."
Christkindl festivals, traditionally German events, occur across Europe around this time every year, and generally last for a full month. In Kitchener, Reid says, there's a strong emphasis on seasonal activities and sentiments, but that's not all there is to the city's 12th-annual celebration.
"Your first drive past all the events and venues is just magical," she explains. "You have a feeling of just being hugged by the crowd -- all the smells, tastes and sights of Christkindl bring back great memories of childhood Christmases."
Homestyle yuletide cheer is the strong suit here. The festival begins on Thursday night with a candlelight procession to Kitchener's City Hall Square, complete with carolling courtesy of the Grand Philharmonic Choir. The festival's weekend events include puppet shows, traditional dance performances and craft workshops -- all events that echo a more community-minded, less commercial approach to the holiday season. And, in keeping with the theme of Christmas nostalgia, there's a whole lot of food.
"We have everything from funnel cakes to schnitzel and schinken," Reid says of the event's many food vendors. (The snacks, unfortunately, are not free of charge.) "We also have more than 75 vendors, including craft and clothing vendors, so there's really something for everyone."
Also featured are a working model railway, listed on GardenRailway.comas one of the world's top holiday displays, a live Nativity (complete with real donkey) and a special post office with custom Christkindl postmarks, which appeals to both children mailing letters to Santa and philatelists (stamp enthusiasts). Last year, Christkindl was featured on Festivals & Events Ontario's Top 50 Festivals list, and it generally draws a crowd of roughly 40,000 people to Kitchener's downtown core, including school tours, local visitors and groups from the U. S.
"You don't just come to the festival for one reason," Reid says. "All of the city's public space downtown is taken over by Christkindl. The real joy of the festival is that you know what to expect, and that's what keeps people coming back."
Christkindling Joy and Goodwill, Story by Susan Deefholts and Photos courtesy of Jan Pisarczyk
German Life Magazine, December 2006 Issue