BY MEGHAN WEATHERALL
Kitchener’s Victoria Park will be filled Dec. 1 with carolers bundled up in coats and mitts, who will encircle a newly lit tree filled with dazzling Christmas lights.
From there these hundreds of market attendees will march toward Kitchener City Hall, where over 90 vendors will serve traditional German cuisine and sell knickknacks and hot chocolate. A welcome ceremony will be held that includes a prologue by Christkindl (Christ child) and two angels. To close the ceremony city officials will officially light up Carl Zehr Square and the Grand Philharmonic Choir will sing Hallelujah.
“We are in the top 100 festivals and events for Ontario,” said Monica Reid, a media contact for Kitchener City Hall. “We are expecting over 40,000 attendees.”
The market itself will run until its closing ceremony on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. During the weekend past favourites like the interactive train display made by Fred and Jenny Aldred will be back to entertain the crowd. Their train display has reached over 30 feet in the past. The market opens to the public on the first Thursday of December. The night kicks off with a 5 p.m. onstage performance by the German Alliance Brass Band. From there the crowd will be asked to purchase a lantern or pick up a candlestick to be lit for the march to Victoria Park. Later that evening Phoenix and Mercedes, members of the band Courage My Love and past volunteer angles for the market, will close the first night by singing.
Alpine Dancers, the Transylvania Choir and Bluevale Choir are three of the nine acts that will perform on the second day. The third day will feature KW Schuhplattler and Folk Dancers along with The Queen Street Singers and Golden Key. Inside the hall, between 3 and 6 p.m., a children’s workshop will take place on the second floor. On the final day, more singers and dancers will take centre stage. The closing ceremony will include a draw for prizes and the donation presentation.
“The prizes during the draw include a trip for two to Germany, tickets to a play of your choice at Drayton Entertainment, a $2,000 voucher for Via Rail and a new Broil King barbecue,” said Reid. “The donation to the Children’s Wish Foundation will also be presented. Over the last 19 years we have raised over $79,000.”
The market attracts visitors not just from the area but from as far as Toronto and Barrie.
Pamela Dawes, from Stratford, shared her thoughts on the market’s website. “Homesick for the sights, smells and sounds of Germany. I had been living in a small town in the Black Forest region while I was teaching on the Canadian Forces Base in Lahr. On my return to Stratford, I found the Kitchener Christkindl Market. Somehow, I did not feel quite as homesick for the sights, smells and sounds of Germany! It is a wonderful experience, one I look forward to every year.”
Others left behind words of praise on how organized the event was and the Christmas cheer it brings them every year.