MONROE, Wisconsin — Shopping this year for the perfect gift from 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. 28-29, 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 14th 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), and Holzschnitte (wood carvings). Homemade Swiss-baked goods and traditional Glüwein (hot-spiced wine) also contribute to the authentic atmosphere. Featuring all one-of-kind handcrafted items, the market also includes fiber and fabric articles, candles, soaps, rag rugs, baby and doll items, woodworking, quilting, home décor, jewelry, watercolors 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 in the evening following the market.
Samichlaus, the Swiss version of St. Nicholas, and his bad behavior consultant, Schmutzli, will appear at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. during both days of the market to visit with shoppers and children of all ages.
The annual Christkindlmarkt is part of Turner Hall’s ongoing Swiss Heritage Series, public events that share and perpetuate Swiss heritage and traditions. Turner Hall of Monroe, a 501(c)(3) non-profit believed to be the only Turner Hall of Swiss origin still left in the United States, is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. More information, including a complete list of artisans and crafters, is available at http://turnerhallofmonroe.org/christkindlmarkt.html.
Posted Nov. 26, 2014