Online Staff Report
MONROE, Wis. — The sights, sounds and smells of an Old World holiday tradition will fill the Grand Hall of the Turner Hall of Monroe, Wis., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24.
Part of Turner Hall’s 2012 Swiss Heritage Series, the annual holiday market known as Christkindlmarkt will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the two days following Thanksgiving.
Originating in Germany, the first Christkindlmarkts — or Christ Child Markets — date back to 1434, with the market in Nuremburg being one of the oldest and most famous. The aroma of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Glüwein (hot spiced wine), mingled with the scent of fresh pine, filled the outdoor market spaces that featured holiday foods and unique wares crafted by artisans.
Although Turner Hall’s Christkindlmarkt is held indoors, the Emmental-style chalet, rich in the alpine heritage of Switzerland, provides the perfect ambiance for this traditional market, including the same sensory delights as the European markets.
Shoppers will find the work of more than 30 select artisans and crafters, with unique, affordable and quality gifts such as specifically European folk art items like Scherenschnitte (scissor cuttings), Kerbschnitte (chip-carving in wood) and Holzschnitte (wood-carvings), as well as fabric arts, handmade soaps and lotions, floral arrangements, jewelry, knit items, Christmas décor, and much more.
Also part of the market, a European-style café, including homemade Swiss-baked goods, soups and hot spiced wine, will offer Christkindlmarkt shoppers a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday atmosphere.
The lower level Ratskeller Restaurant will also be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days, as well as for evening dinner starting at 4:30 p.m.
Turner Hall’s Samichlaus (the Swiss version of Santa Claus) and his gloomy sidekick, Schmutzli, will be on hand to visit with children of all ages. There will also be a restored horse sleigh on display for picture-taking.
Saturday, shoppers are also invited to visit the Monroe Middle School across the street from the Turner Hall, where the Green County Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) will be offering a “Shop for a Cure,” featuring home party products.
Turner Hall of Monroe, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has a mission of preserving and nurturing Swiss heritage and culture. At 1217 17th Ave., one block south of Monroe’s downtown Square, the current Turner Hall was built in 1938 following the destruction by fire of the original structure built in 1868.
The authentic Swiss Emmental-style chalet, designed by German architect Max Hanisch, is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and is believed to be the only Turner Hall of Swiss origin left in the United States.
The facility is handicapped accessible. More information about the Christkindlmarkt, including a complete listing of vendors, is available at www.TurnerHallofMonroe.org/christkindlmarkt.html.
Posted Nov. 21, 2012