Christkindlmarket was the perfect place for students to practice German skills while partaking in Chicago’s largest open-air festival since 1996.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point German Club visited the annual celebration this past Saturday and was excited to be immersed in German culture.
“My favorite part was meeting some workers at a Christmas ornament booth who were from Germany and getting to speak to them in German and tell them my jokes,” said German Club President Tyler Simuliunas.
The German Club began attending Christkindlmarket in 2007 and the trip has become an annual offering because of popularity with students and community members. Tickets were $45 for students and included an all-you-can-eat dinner at the Essen Haus in Madison.
“We just about filled the bus,” said Brittany Federspiel, the German Club treasurer. “People broke off into their own groups and did whatever they wanted that day. The food at the Essen Haus in Madison was so good.”
The German Club left Stevens Point at 6 a.m. and had a full day in the city. Students were encouraged to attend Christkindlmarket, but were free to do what they pleased until their 5 p.m. departure.
“I’d never been to a Christmas market before, but from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty similar to the ones in Germany,” Simuliunas said. “It was interesting to see what it was like and now my friend in Munich is asking me to send her pictures.”
The outdoor market is centered in the Daley Plaza and filled with vendors selling an assortment of authentic German food and gifts. This year it is held from Nov. 21 to Dec. 24.
“I especially like to buy German chocolate, which is hard to buy elsewhere,” said Jesse Kosobucki, the German Club secretary. “Afterward, I like to visit a museum in downtown Chicago and then the Essen Haus is one of my favorite meals all year long.”
The market is named after the traditional gift bearer of Germany called Christkind. For the festival, she is depicted as a beautiful woman dressed in a golden gown. According to Christkindlmarket’s website, she will be making appearances to share German holiday traditions and tell Christmas stories throughout the duration of the market.