Holiday Marketplace to Feature 125-plus Artisans from 12 States
The heart-warming sounds of live holiday music; delicious German and Austrian food; jolly, old St Nicholas; and beautiful, handcrafted works by dozens of artisans will greet guests to Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, the holiday marketplace set for Thursdays-Sundays, Nov. 21-Dec. 22, at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. This year’s event will feature more than 125 artisans and vendors each weekend, and over 170 different vendors over the course of its five-week run.
Recognized as one of the top holiday markets in the world by Travel + Leisure, Christkindlmarkt features aisles of exquisite, handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans; traditional and contemporary holiday music; and a variety of food from vendors offering bratwursts, strudel, German roasted almonds, barbeque and more. The 2013 event will include artisans from a dozen states offering thousands of great gift ideas ranging from stained glass Moravian stars to handmade jewelry and handcrafted wooden Santas.
New at Christkindlmarkt for 2013 are life-sized contemporary playhouses created by the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Architects Institute of America. Designed by area architects, these playhouses will be on display throughout Christkindlmarkt, with children invited to explore them all. The houses will be auctioned via a silent bidding process, with proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley.
Other Christkindlmarkt highlights include Hidden Pines Farms, offering live Christmas trees and wreaths for sale; Make Your Own Glass Ornament Sessions, where children and adults can work with glass artists to create beautiful, hand-blown ornaments; ice carvers creating sculptures using chainsaws, picks and blowtorches; and Breakfast with St. Nicholas (Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 and 14), where children can meet and have their photos taken with the jolly, old man himself. Germany’s Käthe Wohlfarht, one of the most popular attractions at Christkindlmarkt, is also back with its amazing collection of handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and collectibles.
Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem hours are Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving), Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free parking is available adjacent to the venue, located at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 E. First St., Bethlehem. Advance tickets for Christkindlmarkt are $8 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 6-12, and admission is free for ages 5 and under. Advance season passes are $18 for ages 13 and older, and $8 for ages 6-12. Tickets and season passes are on sale now at www.christkindlmarkt.org and 610-332-3378.
Gingerbread Houses, Light Show & Holiday Brunch Highlight ‘Christmas at SteelStacks’
Christkindlmarkt may be the main attraction at SteelStacks, but there are plenty of other exciting events and attractions designed to put guests in the holiday spirit as well.
Starting Nov. 21, SteelStacks will come alive with the sights and sounds of the holidays during the annual “Christmas at SteelStacks” celebration. This year’s celebration will include a music and light show on the site’s towering blast furnaces, a special holiday menu at the ArtsQuest Center, screenings of holiday classics such as “Miracle on 34th Street” and “White Christmas” in the ArtsQuest Center’s Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas, and holiday performances in the ArtsQuest Center’s Musikfest Café. Among the shows at the Musikfest Café will be the world-famous von Trapp children Nov. 21-22, the Christmas 1954 Musical Revue Dec. 5-7 and 12-15, The Bang Group’s “Nut/Cracked” Dec. 6 and Swinging the Holidays with the Rob Stoneback Big Band Dec. 19. Plus, on Dec. 14 and 15, 1 p.m., the Eric Mintel Quartet will perform a live set in front of the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” as part of the Soundtrack Comes Alive series at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas.
Every night from Nov. 21-Dec. 31, the public can visit SteelStacks to stroll the walkways draped in holiday lights and 1930s-era decorations reminiscent of the days when Bethlehem first became known as The Christmas City. At 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. every Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 21-Dec. 22, there will be a holiday-themed music and light show on the former Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces, the towering structures from which SteelStacks takes its name. In addition, guests can enjoy cozy, horse-drawn carriage and wagonette rides through Bethlehem’s historic SouthSide every Saturday-Sunday starting Nov. 23, plus ride the free Christmas City Trolley every Thursday-Sunday starting Nov. 29 to experience all of Bethlehem’s holiday events and attractions.
At the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, visitors can indulge in the Mike and Ike Bistro’s special holiday menu featuring a variety of hot beverages, delicious food and decadent desserts. New this year are the SteelStacks Gingerbread House Competition & Exhibit, showcasing traditional and contemporary gingerbread houses Nov. 21-Dec. 23, as well as a Holiday Brunch Dec. 8 in the Musikfest Café. Tickets for the brunch, which will feature live music and a visit from St. Nick, are $34.95 for ages 13 and older, $13.95 for ages 6-12, and admission is free for ages 5 and under. Brunch tickets, which include admission to Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, are on sale now at www.artsquest.org and 610-332-3378.
St. Luke’s Partners with Visitor Center to Enhance Guest Experience
One of the newest attractions at SteelStacks this holiday season is the Visitor Center at SteelStacks presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network. Housed in the 1863 Stock House, the oldest building on the SteelStacks site, the visitor center will offer expanded hours during Christkindlmarkt, allowing guests to enjoy the exhibits and displays, as well as obtain information on all the events and attractions taking place in the region during the holiday season.
Through the partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, the Visitor Center at SteelStacks will expand its exhibits in the coming months, adding a display focusing on St. Luke’s history and unique ties to the community it serves.
”Today, St. Luke’s University Health Network is one of the state’s largest health systems, but St. Luke’s was originally founded in 1872 to care for the workers at the Steel Foundries in Bethlehem 140 years ago,” says Kenneth Szydlow, vice president for marketing and public relations at St. Luke’s. ”Our displays will celebrate the vision of business and industry leaders to meet the health care needs of our community through history.
During the holiday season, the Visitor Center presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network will also serve as the official site of the Christkindlmarkt Baby Changing Areas, offering amenities and supplies for both babies and parents. In addition, it will be the official departure point for the two popular walking tours on site, “Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel” and the “SteelStacks Art and Architecture Tour,” as well as show “Bethlehem: The Christmas City,” the documentary highlighting Bethlehem’s rich history.”
“St. Luke’s has been a vital part of our community for more than 140 years, providing not only medical services and support, but also being a tremendous partner to many organizations including ArtsQuest,” says ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert. “St. Luke’s was one of the first supporters of Musikfest many years ago, and they have also played a key role in helping to establish SteelStacks. We are very excited to partner with the hospital network, and we look forward to working closely with them to enhance the offerings here at SteelStacks for our guests.”
Regular visitor center hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Starting the week of Nov. 18, the Visitor Center will be open Mon.-Wed, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Dec. 24. For the complete list of holiday events and attractions, please visit www.artsquest.org or call 610-332-3378.