Vergnügen! Christkindl Market a Success

Everyone expected Arlington’s first Christkindl Market to be great, but no one expected the turnout that showed up. Young and old from all over the Metroplex lined the outdoor stalls just north of Rangers Ballpark to take part in an old world holiday fair Dec. 8 through Dec. 11.

The City estimated that as many as 5,000 people showed up for the opening ceremonies Thursday night that included a tree lighting and fireworks show.

“It was amazing,” said Council Member Sheri Capehart, who had been planning the event since 2007. “My hope was that we would have people that had experienced a German Christmas before want to see how our market compared, and, also, there would be some people who were curious about what it was. It was that and more.”

The market vendors were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, too. “It’s been crazy, nonstop,” said Carrollton’s Katie Wagner, who was manning Original Austrian Strudel’s food booth on Saturday. At the time, the line had approximately 40 people in it and didn’t show any signs of shrinking.

Hope Trevino, who was cooking the equally popular potato pancakes and German sausage, said that the line for the two foods had been stretching past several other stalls each day the market had been open.

The Christkindl Market, where admission and parking were free, featured 50-plus booths selling authentic German cuisine, entertainment and crafts, and appearances from holiday icons Father Christmas and the Christkind Angel.

Arlington celebrates its 60th anniversary with sister city Bad Königshofen in 2011, making this December an appropriate time to hold the first outdoor market, which the City plans to turn into an annual tradition. Next year’s fair will last two weeks from Nov. 30 through Dec. 16.

The original Christkindlmarkt dates back to the mid-16th century in Nuremberg, Germany. Today the tradition continues on a much larger scale there with more than 160 stalls open for approximately a month.

The best parts of the four-day fair were the sausage and cider, according to 12-year-old Kyle Feist of Plano, who had a bow and arrow from the Compleat Knight booth strapped across his chest.

While everyone had their own favorite things, the overall atmosphere created an old world experience full of German favorites for those in attendance.

Liz Freeny, who studied German in high school, traveled from Allen with her third grader, Natalie Evans, to partake in the festivities. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve had a great time,” Freeny said.

View photos of the market