A Carmel Christmas
Christkindlmarkt, Ice at Center Green Open in Carmel for the Holidays
Writer / Jane VanOsdol
Photographer / Amy Payne
The old world charm of a German Christmas is brought to life in Hamilton County with the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, which celebrated its grand opening Nov. 18-19. In conjunction with the opening of the public ice rink, Ice at Center Green, it will be a holiday celebration not to be missed.
Christmas markets are popular traditions in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages. The connection to Carmel started years ago when Mayor Jim Brainard saw them firsthand and thought they would be a perfect fit in Indiana. Maria Murphy, CEO & market master, says Brainard wanted “to create a new, memorable experience for people to share with their families during the holiday season that’s close to home.”
With the Ice at Center Green already scheduled for a November opening, the timing worked out to dovetail the two. Both venues are located in the space occupied by the Farmers Market. The Carmel Christkindlmarkt will run through Dec. 24, and the ice rink will operate through March 11, weather permitting. The space will then be prepared for the spring and summer season of the Farmers Market.
The ice rink is open to the public for skating enjoyment Wednesday through Sunday (ice hockey is not allowed). Skaters can purchase wristbands that will be color coded to their specific time on the ice, and they may rent skates or bring their own. Mondays and Tuesdays the rink is available for family and corporate rentals.
Researching the Market
“The goal has always been a high-end, authentic Germanic market,” Murphy says. They specifically did not want mass-produced products but products that are still handmade in time-honored traditions.
This past spring, Murphy traveled to Germany to locate enough products and vendors to fill 38 huts. Prior research directed her to the geographic region of Erzgebirge in the Ore Mountains, specifically three towns: Marienberg, Obernau and Seiffen, Germany. Here she met the artisans and found the products to fill the market. Ten food huts are under contract by local Indiana vendors, and they will be serving German-style food.
Some of the products include steins, ornaments, nutcrackers, wooden figurines, Meissen porcelain, Cologne cards, handmade candles and candle arches, nativities and much more. Look for Glühwein, a traditional German holiday drink, to be served in limited-edition Carmel “boot” mugs.
Interested in volunteering? Hundreds of volunteers are needed. Schedules are flexible and every volunteer who works four hours or longer receives a gift. Visit carmelchristkindlmarkt.com and click the “Volunteer” button in the top-right corner for more information.
The grand opening for the Christkindlmarkt and the Ice at Center Green was a day full of festivities, including a ribbon cutting with Mayor Brainard, a visit with Santa for the kids, stage performances with caroler groups, accordion music and more. Be sure to add the Christkindlmarkt and the Ice at Center Green to your must-do holiday list and experience an Old World Christmas that you won’t soon forget.