Online Staff Report
MONROE, Wis. — Shopping this year for the perfect gift in Switzerland, Germany or Austria won’t necessarily require a passport or an expensive plane ticket. All it takes is a visit to Turner Hall of Monroe’s annual Christkindlmarkt on the Friday and Saturday right after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29-30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Christkindlmarkts, or literally translated, “Christ Child Markets,” have been a tradition in German-speaking countries of Europe for centuries. There, these open-air street markets take place during the four weeks of Advent before Christmas, and in many cities in Germany, attract millions of visitors annually.
Although indoors and on a much smaller scale, Turner Hall’s Christkindlmarkt, now in its 13th year, retains the ambiance and feel of the Old World markets, with artisans specializing in folk arts such as Scherenschnitte (scissor cuttings), Kerbschnitte (chip-carving in wood), Holzschnitte (wood carvings) and Schwibbogen (German decorative candle holders and silhouettes). Homemade Swiss-baked goods and traditional Glüwein (hot spiced wine) also contribute to the authentic atmosphere.
The market also includes fiber and fabric arts, candles, soaps, floral arrangements, quilting, Christmas decorations, jewelry, watercolors, antler carvings and more. The lower level Ratskeller Restaurant will also be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days of the market, as well as following the market.
Samichlaus, the Swiss version of St. Nicholas, and his bad behavior consultant, Schmutzli, will appear at various times during the market to visit with shoppers and children of all ages.
New at this year’s Christkindlmarkt is a silent auction, with items donated by the craftspeople and artisans themselves. Proceeds will benefit the Swiss Heritage Series of the Turner Hall of Monroe, of which the Christkindlmarkt is part. Turner Hall of Monroe is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is listed on the national and state registers of historic places. More information, including a complete list of vendors, is available at http://turnerhallofmonroe.org/christkindlmarkt.html.
Posted Nov. 27, 2013