Christkindlmarket coming to Naper Settlement
Naperville's Naper Settlement will provide the setting this winter for the only Christkindlmarket Chicago in the suburbs.
The traditional German holiday market will open on Black Friday, Nov. 25, and run 21 days until concluding on Christmas Eve.
Organizers promise "one of the finest Christmas markets that has ever been seen in the U.S." featuring 40 vendors selling sausages, candles, candies, gifts and ornaments on the Settlement grounds.
"This is the most incredible location to hold such an event in the suburbs because it's Naperville," said W. David Braun, chairman of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, the parent of market operator German American Events, LLC. "Because it's this location, it is a tradition; it is historical."
The market will offer free admission at 523 S. Webster St. and "the same festive atmosphere" shoppers have found at Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza since 1996, said Maren Biester Priebe, general manager of German American Events.
Traditional wooden huts with candy cane striping will line the paths of the Settlement's village square. German bands in lederhosen will serenade crowds. Imported German brews and Gluhwein hot spiced wine will be flowing.
The market's suburban outpost is moving to Naperville from Oak Brook, where it had taken place in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015. City officials and Christkindlmarket operators all said it's a perfect fit.
"Since the 1840s, Naperville has been a destination and a home of very hardworking German-speaking families," said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, Naper Settlement president and CEO. "(They) have formed the backbone of the agricultural, the business and the religious communities."
The market plans to accentuate another Naperville tradition -- a focus on kids. Biester Priebe said a Kinder Club in the market will offer activities including a passport program challenging little ones to get stamps from vendors to be eligible for treats (Haribo gummy bears, anyone?).
Kids also can learn the German and English words to traditional Christmas poems. Growing up German, poetry is important at Christmastime.
"When I was a child," Biester Priebe said, "I used to have to recite a poem if I wanted a gift."
Gifts galore will be for sale at the market in a setting that imitates the original market in Nuremberg, Germany, which began all the way back in 1545. It's going to be a cultural treasure, and hopefully an annual occasion, Naperville officials say.
"Every great city has great cultural events and amenities like this," Mayor Steve Chirico said. "We are very, very proud ... to provide a venue that's so beautiful and such an outstanding venue to host this particular event."