Christkindlmarket returns to Naper Settlement

  • Naperville's Christkindlmarket at Naper Settlement attracted more than 200,000 visitors last year, organizers said.

    Naperville's Christkindlmarket at Naper Settlement attracted more than 200,000 visitors last year, organizers said. Courtesy of Naper Settlement

  • The Christkindlmarket returns to Naper Settlement this week with 47 vendors displaying their wares.

    The Christkindlmarket returns to Naper Settlement this week with 47 vendors displaying their wares. Courtesy of Jim Prischin

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/16/2017 10:36 AM

Christkindlmarket is coming back to Naperville for a second time beginning Friday, Nov. 24.

And this year, the monthlong outdoor market will bring with it more vendors, along with a few innovations intended to make navigating the crowds that converge on the Naper Settlement grounds at 523 S. Webster St. less daunting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We've expanded the market a lot. We are actually hosting 13 new vendors along with all the vendors that were here last year," said Kate Bleeker, of German American Events, a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce.

The holiday shopping experience, imported from Germany, was so successful when its suburban operation moved last year to Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville from its previous location in Oak Brook that organizers decided to reprise the experience.

"We were surprised how welcoming Naperville was and how excited they were about having this event," Bleeker said.

Last year, the Naperville event drew about 200,000 visitors, she said.

For years, the German American organization has presented the annual Christkindlmarket in Chicago's Daley Plaza; this year, Bleeker said, a second Chicago location is being added near Wrigley Field. In some cases, vendors at one location are also represented at other locations, she said.

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A total of 47 vendors are expected to bring their wares to Naperville. Bleeker said about 60 percent of those are traveling from Germany or from German-speaking countries to sell gifts and food.

"There will be traditional German food -- bratwurst, potato pancakes, goulash," Bleeker said. "We have a lot more food going in this year."

She said presenters are planning the event with the goal of making food lines shorter and easier for shoppers.

Vendors from Germany will offer teas, roasted nuts, gingerbread, marzipan candy, chocolates, toys, collectibles, handmade gifts, jewelry, figurines, candles, cuckoo clocks, holiday décor and, of course, beer steins.

Visitors also will find items from other parts of the world, including Canadian alpaca scarves, Polish pierogies and Ukrainian nesting dolls.

Naper Settlement will offer hot cider for sale, with proceeds going to support the museum village's operation, spokeswoman Emma Vodick said. A few local vendors also will participate, she said, and the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center will be open during Christkindlmarket.

Weekend visitors to the market also will see Naper Lights, a holiday light display produced by the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise. Naper Lights begins Friday, Nov. 24, and will continue Thursdays to Sundays through Saturday, Dec. 23.

Admission to Christkindlmarket is free, Bleeker said. Entertainment will include a performance by the Naperville Chorus Sunday, Nov. 26; a show by the Barefoot Hawaiian Dancers Dec. 9; and a presentation by Center Stage Players Saturday, Dec. 23.

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