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Christkindlmarkt getting ready to mark 20th year at Pembroke Germania Club Nov. 24-26

By Pembroke Daily Observer

Stephen Uhler/Daily Observer


The Germania Club of Pembroke will once again be a hub of activitiy Nov. 24-26 for the 20th annual Christkindlmarkt, or traditional German-style Christmas market.

Stephen Uhler/Daily Observer The Germania Club of Pembroke will once again be a hub of activitiy Nov. 24-26 for the 20th annual Christkindlmarkt, or traditional German-style Christmas market.

When the Germania Club in Pembroke opened its hall at its present location, 15 Bennett St., its elegant ambiance inspired in several of its members a vision of a Canadian version of a centuries-old tradition, a German-style Christmas market. And so planning began for the Germania Club’s first annual Christkindlmarkt, A Taste of Christmas in Germany, held in 1998.

“We started talking about it right after the new hall opened in late summer of 1997,” said Marie Zettler, one of the initial organizers. “However, we knew that to do justice to it would require more time than was left in the year, so we set our sights on November of 1998. It’s been happening every year since then.”

Early committee members didn’t set any long-term goals.

“We just couldn’t have imagined finding the people to do this amount of work year after year,” laughs Zettler. “But 20 years later, here we are!”

The first task was to sell the concept to prospective vendors. That included visiting numerous vendors at craft shows and studios; not only to record their contact information, but also to explain what was proposed.

“When we said we were planning a Christkindlmarkt, the initial response was mostly ‘you’re planning a what?’” she recalls.

There were only 35 vendors at the first Pembroke Christkindlmarkt.

“We knew that the hall could accommodate more, but we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew and so risk leaving a negative impression,” said Zettler.

Erwin Beck, who served as chairman for the first Christkindlmarkt and has been a committee member each year since is also chairing the 20th edition.

This year’s Christkindlmarkt features more than 50 vendors both inside and outside the hall. It starts Friday, Nov. 24, with a celebratory ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. and runs until Sunday, Nov. 26. Admission is free.

While the official opening is on Friday at 4 p.m., users of wheelchairs and walkers, as well as seniors and anyone with mobility issues, will be welcomed beginning at 3 p.m. before the aisles become crowded.

Open hours for the general public are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Christkindlmarkt features a variety of arts and crafts, including stained glass, wheel-thrown pottery, and hand-painted Christmas ornaments. The large offering of woodcrafts from the Ore Mountains of Germany is always a highlight of the market.

There's also knitting, crochet work, hand-crafted sterling silver jewelry, woodworking including intarsia, and scroll saw fretwork; maple and honey products, and fleece slippers and accessories. There are also candles, soaps and lotions, spices, floral creations, and nature photography.

There are cuddly toys, jewelry and other articles made from a wide variety of materials including rose quartz, hand-crafted guitars, and functional and decorative metal work.

Again there will be Advent wreaths and sprays made out of fresh greenery, along with traditional Christmas plants. Also in keeping with the German Christmas tradition there will be a wide variety of traditional Christmas baking such as Stollen, cookies, gingerbread, fruit loaves, and imported chocolates.

As always, there will be free draws for door prizes donated by vendors approximately every hour throughout the show.

The Christkindlmarkt is providing space for UNICEF to market items which are part of its fundraising efforts.

Santa will be at the door with treats for the children, so bring your camera to take your child's picture as he/she chats with the jolly old elf in his sleigh.

A craft area for children will be provided by the Children's Garden Nursery School so that youngsters can be busy and engaged while their parents browse and shop. There is a small charge to cover the cost of materials.

As always, authentic German food, provided again this year by Schmidt’s Catering, will round out the atmosphere of the Christkindlmarkt. The club will also offer “Sausage on the Run” in the chalet outside the hall, and Beavertails will again be available.

The name, Christkindlmarkt, derives from “Christkind” or “Christ child.” The tradition of the Christ Child as the bringer of gifts originated in Germany five centuries ago. And so, despite the evolution Christmas celebrations over the centuries, in many parts of the world the Christ Child continues to be associated with giving and receiving gifts at Christmas.

Everyone is welcome to Pembroke's Christkindlmarkt – to shop, to visit, or just to sample A taste of Christmas in Germany.

For more information, go to www.germaniapembroke.ca.