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Last week, I offered a little information about some of the great holiday themed events scheduled for the Kitchener – Waterloo region for the next few weeks. But what about shopping?
Even if you were tempted by a growing number of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday deals, the chances are that you, like me, still have quite a bit of shopping to go to really be ready for the holidays. Not just for gifts either I’ll bet, but for the decorations, food, drink and ‘trinkets’ that really make the holidays memorable.
Here in our area we are lucky that, beginning this year on December 1, we have a way to get a lot of that holiday shopping done and have a fun, festive time as well, thanks to the Kitchener Christkindl Market, which in 2016 is celebrating its 20th year.
About the Kitchener Christkindl Market
If you are new to our area, or will just be passing through, you may not have even known that we have a Christmas market, or that it was the first of its kind in Canada. It was first staged in 1996 as a boost for the Kitchener downtown area and started rather small that year, with just a few vendors and exhibitors. Last year however more than 35,000 people came from across North America to join in the fun, and that didn’t even include the locals! This year, as it is such a special milestone the organisers expect even more.
What is a Christkindl Anyway?
Our Christmas Market in Kitchener may only be a few decades old but the German festivities on which it is based have been around for centuries. In fact the first note that history makes of such an event is a market held in Munich, Germany in 1310. It wasn’t a hugely fancy affair, simply a gathering of farmers and traders who came together to sell, buy and trade goods while also indulging in more than a little festive drinking and singing. And in actual fact that is still really at the heart of Christkindl and other similar Christmas Markets held today, however fancy they’ve become.
Highlights of the 20th Anniversary Kitchener Christkindl Market
The festivities – and all of the great shopping opportunities – will begin in 2016 with a parade that the public are invited to join in with. After meeting up in Victoria Park at 6pm you can join in a parade that will feature a Natiivty reenactment and the Grand Philharmonic Choir leading the singing. At the parade’s end the giant blue spruce Christmas Tree will be lit and from there on in, through December 4th, it will be fun. food and shopping for everyone!
There are dozens of vendors taking part in the Kitchener Christkindl Market this year. Some will be located indoors, on the first and second floors of the City Hall Building while others will be occupying traditional hut stalls up and down King Street. They’ll be a huge selection of things to buy this year, ranging from toys and games for the little ones to the finest in holiday food and drink to all kinds of holiday decor pieces that will give your home that extra festive touch.
What festival – even if it’s a shopping festival – would be complete without some great entertainment? And in addition to performances from some amazing choirs, bands and theatre troupes from all over the world there will be daily offerings including carriage rides, a live, ongoing Nativity scene, blacksmiths’ demonstrations and visits from some rather well known holiday faces. All of the major performances will be staged in Carl Zehr Square but there will be entertainments all over Downtown Kitchener as well.
If you want to learn more about what to expect from this four day festival of holiday fun check out the video below and visit the market’s official website here for all of the times, dates and directions you might need to enjoy the best of what is yet another reason why living in the Kitchener-Waterloo region is such a wonderful thing.