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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sights, sounds, smells of an authentic German Christmas festival in Kitchener

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 29/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Everything is wunderbar in Kitchener as the Christkindl Market recreates a Christmas tradition dating back 700 years in Germany.
   Since medieval times, towns and cities across Germany come alive with outdoor markets of rustic wooden booths and stalls full of traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers and wooden figurines.
   This scene has been recreated now for 18 years, bringing back “the sights, sounds and smells” of an authentic German Christmas market, said president Astrid Braun.
Christkindl with her two angels and Knecht Ruprect at the Kitchener festival. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    In Kitchener, the oldest and largest German community in Canada, the party takes place outside and inside city hall from Dec. 4 to 7.
   The four-day market is enlivened by a cast of folkloric characters highlighted by Christkindl or “Christ Child, the traditional gift-bringer in Germany” and her two angels.
   There’s also farmhand Knecht Ruprect, a companion of Saint Nicholas, and Klaus Wehrenberg who plays an original hand-cranked street organ accompanied by his friendly (stuffed) monkey.
   Also on Saturday will be an appearance by Haribo Bear (of Gummie Bear fame).
   A candlelight procession “led by Mary, Joseph and their stalwart donkey,” takes place  on the evening of Dec. 4 through Victoria Park and along Gaukel Street to City Hall Square.
   Along the way, the Grand Philharmonic Choir and many carollers are accompanied by the ringing of church bells.
The Christkindl Market takes place at Kitchener City Hall. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    Members of the community re-enact the nativity scene at an outdoor stable that’s part of  the festival.
   Entertainment includes some 27 bands, choirs and dance groups performing on an outdoor stage, ice skating on the city square rink and blacksmiths showing their skills.
   The “cute” wooden huts and indoor booths will have some 70 vendors with traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, wood carved toys, pyramids, figurines, jewelry and clothing.
   The scene wouldn’t be complete without the aroma of cinnamon, apple fritters, mulled wine and grilled sausages filling the air.
   Vendors are located in huts on the square and inside the rotunda of city hall as well as the second floor.
   Returning is the big "G" Scale Garden Railway display by Jenny and Fred Aldred on the first floor in the Conestoga Room.
Folkloric characters organ grinder Klaus and farmhand Knecht Ruprecht entertain at the Christkindl Market. (Photo: Pirak.com)
    “The traditions of Christkindl are so memorable for each person,” said  publicist Monica Reid.
   “Whether it’s the trains, the apple fritters or the live nativity and hearing all the sounds of Christmas  while enjoying the company of friends and sharing holiday sweets and savories.”

   After party
   New this year is a Christkindl “After Dark” party on Dec. 5 and 6 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
   Presented by the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area, the free event takes place on King Street.
   Organizers say it promises “two nights of awesome” with live music, ice-skating, carolling and hot and cold beverages available at the Schnapps bar.
   There will also be carriage rides visiting some popular spots in the downtown.

   Need to know
   Christkindl Market hours are Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. christkindl.ca; (519) 741-2200, Ext. 7387

   Santa on the rails
   All aboard the Port Stanley Terminal Rail’s “Santa Treats” train that chugs through the Elgin County countryside the first three weekends in December.
Santa gets ready to ride the Port Stanley Terminal Rail.
    Enjoy the ride from the warmth of a heated car and “watch the children’s anticipation grow as we near our destination to meet Santa,” said railway president Dan Vernackt.
   The will be live entertainment on some trains and included are treats of hot chocolate, apple cider and mince tarts.
   The train departs and returns to the station in Port Stanley (309 Bridge St.) next to the King George Lift Bridge.
   Fares are $15, adults; $9, children ages two to 14, tax included.
The Santa Treats train chugs through the Elgin County countryside.
   The trips run on Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Riders should allow 20 minutes to park and obtain tickets. pstr.on.ca; 1-877-244-4478


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

1 comment:

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