Popular holiday marketplace, which opens Nov. 18, expands for 2016 by adding new tents, decorations and vendors

chriskindlmarktAs Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem approaches a quarter-century of celebrating Christmas in the Christmas City, the popular holiday marketplace promises more holiday cheer than ever as it adds new tents and welcomes a record number of vendors to the event. Tickets for the market, which takes place at SteelStacks weekends Nov. 18-Dec. 18, are on sale now at www.christmascity.org and 610-332-3378.

A one-of-a-kind family event that brings the spirit of Bethlehem (known as the Christmas City since the 1930s), alive with the season, Christkindlmarkt has twice been named one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, as well as one of the top holiday markets in the world by USA Today Travel. Modelled after the open-air markets held in Germany and other parts of Europe, Christkindlmarkt started in 1993 and today showcases a diverse array of artisans and vendors, attracting visitors from near and far with its combination of old-world charm and unique shopping experience. In addition to aisle upon aisle of handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans, the market features St. Nicholas, glassblowing demonstrations, live holiday music and authentic German favorites like wursts, strudel and lebkuchen.

chriskindlmarkt-2For 2016, Christkindlmarkt has expanded from two to four tents, resulting in up to 150 vendors each weekend, the most in the event’s 24-year history. Each tent will have its own unique holiday theme, with St. Nicholas moving to the new Bavarian Christmas Village Tent and the outdoor courtyard adding a new glass-window tent where attendees can watch resident glass artists at work, shop for Christkindlmarkt and official Bethlehem Steel merchandise, and relax at tables and chairs while enjoying hot cocoa or Glühwein.

This year’s Christkindlmarkt welcomes artists from 16 different states, with craftsmen coming from as far away as Florida, Maine and Wisconsin. Just a small sample of the many new artists for 2016 are “The Dudes” Pant-Planters of Akron, Ohio, which offers unique ornamental planters made out of children’s jeans; Quilts by Kate of Avondale, Pa., which makes handcrafted quilts and holiday items like tree skirts and Advent calendars; and Green Kamikozees of Bowers, Pa., which features a wide array of hot pickled products ranging from hot dill pickles to hot pickled string beans and asparagus.

chriskindlmarkt-3Germany’s top Christmas ornament and decor company, Käthe Wohlfahrt is also back At Christkindlmarkt for its 17th season with an all-new look. An attendee favorite, Käthe Wohlfahrt brings the same Christmas joy as one would experience at their stores in Germany. Many items reflect traditional German handicraft and skill that have flourished in the Erzgebirge area of Germany for well over 200 years. They also capture the spirit of time-honored, beloved German Christmas traditions. Some of the 2,000 products that will be available include nutcrackers, incense smokers, pyramids, Schwibbogens (candle arches) and wood, glass and pewter ornaments.

Families looking for a unique experience at Christkindlmarkt will want to check out the popular Breakfast with St. Nicholas on Saturdays. All ticketholders receive a delicious breakfast and admission to Christkindlmarkt, as well as a free photo with St. Nick, craft activity and gift bag. Tickets for the breakfast, which takes place Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, 10 and 17, are $18.95 for ages 18 and older, $15.95 for ages 3-17 and $9.95 for ages under 2.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem 2016 dates are Nov. 18-20 and 25-27 and Dec. 1-4, 8-11 and 15-18; hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Regular daily admission to Christkindlmarkt is $9 for ages 13 and older, $5 for children ages 6-12, and ages 5 and under are free. For more information, visit www.christmascity.org or call 610-332-3378.