The Christkindlmarket, the German-themed holiday fair that has delighted Chicagoans for 25 years, will return and resemble its pre-pandemic self on November 19 when it arrives at both Daley Plaza and Gallagher Way.
Both local and European food and gift vendors are back, including DönerMen, purveyors of kebab and currywurst. Those coveted souvenir beer steins will also come back, though the shape and design of this year’s mugs won’t be revealed for a few more weeks. The Stammtisch indoor dining option will be available again this year: up to eight people can reserve slots and meals to eat inside a heated timber hut. Organizers also promise other surprises as the market celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The Daley Plaza location remains open through December 24, while Wrigleyville stays open through December 31.
“There was never any question of [the market] not coming back,” says Kate Bleeker, the market’s director of operations. “Last year with all the cancellations, it was hard on all the vendors. They’re all small business owners and had a hard time making it through.”
The Christkindlmarket was cancelled in 2020 due to concerns over COVID-19. The market’s organizers held a virtual market online where Chicagoans could buy gifts and learn about German holiday customs, but it was not the same. DMen Tap, a bar in Avondale that grew out of the DönerMen food truck, tried to fill the gap with an outdoor pop-up with the blessing of the Christkindlmarket organizers.
The pandemic is still going on in 2021, but officer workers — many of which patronize the market during lunch hours and after work — are slowly returning. The market is traditionally always packed, which adds another layer of complication: how to handle COVID-19 in an environment where lots of people are eating and drinking. There are no official protocols yet, but the market organizers are working closely with the city and monitoring reports to keep visitors safe. The virtual market, which the Christkindlmarket launched last year so that people could shop for gifts from home, goes live October 25.
A ticketed, limited capacity ’Twas the Night Before Christkindlmarket event will take place at Daley Plaza November 18, the evening before the market opens to the general public. Visitors can remain apprised of that, Stammtisch reservations, and general information about the market by signing up for the newsletters on the Christkindlmarket website.
Time Out Chicago first reported the story.
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