Christkindlmarket Naperville is open until Christmas Eve on Saturday, Dec. 24. The DuPage County location is new this year at Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville at 523 S. Webster St.
“It’s great, everything’s been really great,” said Kate Bleeker, manager of German American Events which runs the Christkindlmarkets in Chicago and Naperville.
“I had no idea that we would be as popular as we are (at Naperville) so we’re just really excited to have everyone out here and celebrating the holiday season with us,” she said.
With free admission, the traditional German holiday market strives to capture the feel of Europe with all of aromas and treats popular during the festive American season of November and December.
Traditional wooden huts offer collectibles and German fare. One goal is to channel the appeal of the original Christmas market of Nuremburg, Germany, which began in 1545.
Christkindlmarket Naperville opened the day after Thanksgiving and runs on select days in an historic American museum setting.
“I love it, I think it’s good,” said Gidget Barbour of Darien, who was pleased with the turnout. She’s a vendor who staffed a booth that sold apple cider donuts ($2) and more.
“It’s my first time in the United States, I like it,” said vendor Eike Walter, who sold handmade glass Christmas ornaments made by family. Walter is from Lauscha, Germany.
Since its inception in the mid 1990s, Christkindlmarket Chicago has become a holiday tradition for many families. The previous suburban market was in Oak Brook.
“It’s just more convenient,” said Aimee Newth of Hoffman Estates who brought her son Gabriel Newth, 4.
“Having it local is great,” agreed Bryan Bottarelli of Naperville, who accompanied his children and their friends before sundown.
“It’s festive and it works well,” Bottarelli said.
“I really like the cheese and hot chocolate, it’s very good,” said Julia Bottarelli, 12, a Naperville sixth-grader.
Julia’s sibling Paige Bottarelli, 9, a third-grader, said, “I like looking at the ornaments.”
Bleeker said she’s not sure how many people will visit the new DuPage County location but so far, attendance has been robust, with maybe 5,000 to 10,000 people per day expected.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better partnership than with Naper Settlement,” Bleeker said.
“The historic buildings, and the sort of museum atmosphere, the traditions and the culture that they embrace as well, really…it feels like the market belongs here,” Bleeker said.
“It’s a perfect complement, we’re really nestled in between everything.
“It’s adorable,” Bleeker said with a smile.
German American Events, LLC is a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc.
Christkindlmarket Naperville features approximately 40 vendors.
“This is the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever tried, this is my first year working here,” said Michelle Chlebowski of Naperville who sold holiday sweets on behalf of Pemberton Candies of Homer Glen.
The market has walk-in housing that accommodates vendors. This is a place where visitors can enjoy respite from the cold to sit and relax while they dine and yes, to also get up and shop.
Adults of legal age can purchase imported German beers or Glühwein (hot spiced wine) in a Naperville-specific annual souvenir mug (different from the Picasso landscape mug designs in Chicago).
Hours for Christkindlmarket Naperville are Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Special dates are Monday, Dec. 19 through Friday Dec. 23 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For dates and times of the Christkindlmarket Chicago visit: http://www.christkindlmarket.com/.
— The Christkindlmarket comes to town in Naperville —