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Friday, November 30, 2018

Festive festival fun is wunderbar in Kitchener and across Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for Dec. 1/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Everything’s “wunderbar” in Kitchener as the next big event after Oktoberfest – the Christkindl Market – is wooing the crowds.
   Reflecting Kitchener's German heritage, the free event from Dec. 6 to 9 at Kitchener city hall recreates the centuries-old tradition that’s a feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds.
Folkloric characters organ grinder Klaus and farmer Knech Ruprect are greeters at the Kitchener market.
   Since medieval times, towns and cities across Germany come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas.

   The oldest known German Christmas market was in Munich in 1310 and as the custom of giving gifts grew so did their expansion, reaching Kitchener, originally called Berlin, in 1997.
   Some 40,000 people visit annually to shop the wooden booths and stalls full of traditional handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and wooden figurines.
   Succulent foods include German sausages, lebkucken (spice cake) and steaming mugs of gluhwein (mulled wine).
Christkindl, Christ child, is the star of the Kitchener festivities.
   You’ll be greeted by folkloric characters Christkindl (Christ child), the gift bringer, and her angels; farmhand Knecht Ruprecht, companion of Saint Nicholas; and Klaus, the organ grinder.
   Orchestras and brass bands play and dancing troupes fill the square as choirs sing carols and the sounds of blacksmiths’ hammers remind visitors of a time long forgotten.
   This transformed town square with its Christmas tree, twinkling lights and glittering ornaments includes an outdoor skating rink at Carl Zehr Square.
   Inside city hall, about 100 vendors offer handcrafted and traditional gifts, ornaments, toys, jewelry, florals, ceramics, stained glass and carvings.
   There’s a live nativity scene, films, children’s crafts, pottery centre and a model railway display.
   The official opening includes a nighttime procession to city hall led by “Mary” and Joseph,” with marchers carrying candles as church bells ring and trumpets sound en route to a manger where they spend the evening.
   Parking is free Saturday and Sunday at city hall and the Duke and Ontario garages.
   Hours are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday (Dec. 8), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday (Dec. 9), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details: christkindl.ca

   Ontario’s best markets
   Destination Ontario says holiday markets “get you into the spirit.”
   The government agency known formally as the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corp. suggests “Knock off your shopping list with one-of-a-kind gifts, crafts and homemade pies, pastries and tarts.”
   These other markets similar to Kitchener’s will “get you into the merry mood,” with festive entertainment, holiday carollers, sparkling lights, hot cider and mulled wine.
  The Toronto Christmas Market is at the Distillery Historic District with its heritage buildings, cobblestone laneways and festive decorations. (Barbara Fox photo)
   - Toronto Christmas Market, now through Dec. 23, is in the Distillery Historic District with its heritage buildings, cobblestone laneways and festive decorations.
   - The Museum’s Christmas Market until Sunday (Dec. 2) at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau has delicious food and hand-made decorations, woodcraft, glass items, jewelry and more.
   - Holiday Street Market, today (Dec. 1) and Dec. 8, is a downtown outdoor fair on Main Street in Milton.
   Revellers can expect artisan stalls, delicious food, mulled wine, craft beer, arts and crafts and workshops, fire pits to roast marshmallows and “your favourite jolly fellow dressed in red.”
  Festival fun inNathan Phillips Square. (Jim Fox photo)
    - Fair in the Square, Dec. 1 to 23, except Mondays, is at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.
   This European-style event comes with a crackling fire, gourmet goodies, an ice-skating rink, artisan crafts and an ice bar from Jackson Triggs.
   - Ottawa Christmas Market, Dec. 2 to 23 (select days), has vendors at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park.
    They offer a selection of stocking stuffers and host gifts as well as a lot to nosh on while you shop.
   - Kingston Outdoor Christmas Market, Dec. 8 and 9, is when the historic Hochelaga Inn turns into a Christmas fairy tale.
   Inspired by European outdoor markets, the event features local makers, live entertainment, food, drink, lights, carol singing and an appearance by Santa.


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


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