Second Annual Carmel Christkindlmarkt Returns With New Features For the Winter Season
Photography Provided by Brian Brosmer & Christkindlmarkt
Grab your steins and save room for some raclette, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt is back. The much-anticipated second year of the market started Nov. 17 and will run through Dec. 23.
Market Master Maria Murphy has a personal connection to the festival and is excited to be back at the helm of the event.
Many years ago, Murphy had the opportunity to travel to Germany as a foreign exchange student. The experience and relationships made with her host family left a lasting impression for her. So, when Mayor Jim Brainard announced that Carmel would be bringing its first-ever Christkindlmarkt to the city last year, Murphy did everything she could to be involved with the process.
That involvement blossomed into a full-time position. Today, Murphy serves as the Carmel Christkindlmarkt CEO and Market Master.
“I really enjoyed my experience in Germany,” Murphy says. “I speak German and I stay in touch with my host family to this day. It was a life-changing experience for me. When I heard the Mayor wanted to bring a German market to Carmel, my heart leaped.”
The inaugural Christkindlmarkt last year was successful to say the least. Around 150,000 people attended the market, enjoying the German traditions, foods, shops and more. The feedback from the public has been “tremendous,” according to Murphy.
Murphy says the market has been so well received because Indiana is more in tune with German culture than people might think. According to the Indiana German Heritage Society, 25 percent of people living in Indiana have German ancestry.
“That is a pretty high number,” Murphy says. “Indiana is very rich in its German culture. A lot of people feel connected to the market because of their German heritage. It is special to them. To bring something from their heritage here is a really special thing.”
Last year’s Christkindlmarkt had just about everything, and this year’s market takes it to another level. Plenty of crafts and gift shops line the market with items like nutcrackers, candle arches, ornaments and more available for purchase. And no Christkindlmarkt is complete without food and wine. Guests that flocked to the market last year enjoyed popular German items like the laugenbrezel, a hand-rolled German pretzel, raclette, a Swiss-German dish where a large wheel of cheese is melted and scraped onto plates to be enjoyed with bread and charcuterie, and more.
This year, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt has added even more food selections for guests. Some new items include Kartoffelpuffer, German for potato pancakes, and Döner Kebab, a popular street food in Germany with German bread, gyro meat and fresh vegetables. A Grill Hut has also been added this year with a German, open-air grill to bring authentic smells and tastes into the market.
Perhaps the biggest, and most noticeable, change that guests will see when they enter the Christkindlmarkt this year is the brand new German Glühwein Pyramid. Murphy partnered with Steinbach, a German company known for its nutcrackers and handmade wooden products, to bring the massive pyramid to the Christkindlmarkt.
The Glühwein Pyramid stands at 33 feet tall with more than 3,000 lights on display and weighs in at 10 tons. The very top of the pyramid includes rotating fan blades which are powered by an electric motor. Its an impressive new feature to the market and is sure to be a hotspot for selfies and pictures with friends and family.
More than that, the pyramid’s base will hold the Glühwein — the German mulled wine sold at the market.
“One thing we learned last year is people really enjoy Glühwein,” Murphy says. “The pyramid is beautiful and impressive. It is based on a German tabletop decoration. Over the last few years, it has become really popular to make giant versions of them. There isn’t anything like this anywhere in the United States. We are excited for people to see it this year.”
Murphy says other feedback they got last year was that there weren’t enough activities for smaller children at the market. This year, the Christkindlmarkt offers a Kinderecke — a new kids corner for families to enjoy. The new feature offers crafts, coloring, activities, demonstrations and more for children. The Christkindlmarkt is also bringing Nikolaus, Germany’s version of Santa, to the market on Dec. 6 for photo opportunities, and he will also have small gifts for the kids.
The Ice at Center Green, Carmel’s popular ice skating rink, will also be back at the market. New to the rink this year is the ability to make reservations online for ice skating. To make reservations, visit theiceatcentergreen.com.
“The market really brings multi-generations together,” Murphy says. “Grandparents, parents, teenagers, smaller children will all be able to enjoy the Christkindlmarkt.”
Among many of the new vendors this year is a new gift wrapping station. Guests can bring gifts they’ve bought at the Christkindlmarkt, or even gifts that they have purchased anywhere else, to the station and have them personally gift wrapped.
The year’s market also includes a new glass ornament hut and a three-tier, elaborate train display.
The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre at Center Green will also be providing an interactive character, Helga, that will go through the market and bring cultural and educational presentations for guests.
“There are so many new features this year for people to enjoy,” Murphy says. “The Helga character talks about German Christmas traditions and it will be really interactive and funny. She also takes pictures with the kids and guests.”
If you didn’t experience last year’s Christkindlmarkt, don’t miss out this winter season. The market runs now through Dec. 23, and it’s an event that Murphy says you won’t forget.
“I’m really excited to welcome everyone to the market this winter,” Murphy says. “Last year, people were surprised at how well it came together in such a short amount of time. People that didn’t make it out last year have now heard from family and friends about how fun it was. So it will be really exciting to see new people out this year. It is really special to be a part of this event.”
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is located at 10 Center Green. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit CarmelChristkindlmarkt.com.