Last year’s inaugural Carmel Christkindlmarkt introduced central Indiana to German Christmas traditions, and the party’s back again for another round of festive fun in 2018.
A seasonal mainstay in many cities throughout Germany, Christkindlmarkts celebrate the impending arrival of the Christkind angel — a holiday figure that delivers presents and tannebaums (Christmas trees) to good little boys and girls each Christmas Eve. The charming open-air markets traditionally teem with twinkling lights, gift vendors, food, music and good cheer, and the Carmel event is no exception.
Here, more than 30 quaint huts surround an ice skating rink, proposing a selection of handmade ornaments, nutcrackers, beer steins, wooden toys and other German holiday gifts to browse as music wafts through the air.
Food vendors offer old-world tastes of soft pretzels, bratwursts, schnitzel, lebkuchen cookies, strudel, gingerbread, stollen fruitcakes and other classic German cuisine. Last year’s attendees will be thrilled to hear that the popular Raclette Chalet is back in action again scraping gooey, melty cheese from a heated wheel onto servings of bread and potatoes.
A steamy mug of gluhwein, spicy hot mulled red wine, in a commemorative ceramic boot mug is the perfect chill chaser. Just look for the hot drinks station beneath a soaring new-this-year lighted wooden pyramid presented by Steinbach. Beer, wine, non-alcoholic punch and hot chocolate are also available.
Another new addition to the 2018 lineup, the Kinderecke children’s corner provides respite from the cold, and an opportunity for young visitors to participate in German-themed holiday arts and crafts projects.
Located at 10 Center Green between the Palladium and the Tarkington Theater, the Christkindlmarkt runs through Dec. 23. The market is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m.; and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m.
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is free to attend (parking’s free as well), but you’ll want to bring cash or a credit card for all food, drink and vendor purchases. If you plan to skate, you’ll need to make a reservation for a 75 or 90-minute time slot online before your visit. The rink will stay open through the winter season after the market closes.