As tradition would have it, the third full weekend in November annually brings the heady aroma of authentic Bavarian specialty foods, regional wines, and over 200 vendors of folk art, period pieces, and handmade treasures. An incredible array of Christmas wares, antiques, quality hand-crafted, and primitives await the public at Ferdinand’s Christkindlmarkt, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19.
Christkindlmarkts began in 14th Century Germany and continue today. Artisans display their wares in the local churchyard in the weeks before Christmas. Ferdinand’s Christkindlmarkt is one of the most authentic in the United States. Instead of booths in the churchyard, market sites are located indoors and outdoors throughout town. Parking is free as is transportation between market sites.
The six market locations include the Ferdinand Community Center at 1710 Community Drive, the Tri-County YMCA Antiques Markt at 131 E. 16th St., Forest Park High School on 14th and Vienna, the Ferdinand American Legion at 425 Main St. Ferdinand Elementary at 402 E. 8th St. and the Monastery Event Hall at 840 E. 10th St.
In addition to regional foods and wines, quality handcrafted treasures, antiques, florals, folk art, ornaments, pottery, fabric, and artwork and booths will showcase the works of wood carvers, basket weavers, chocolatiers, candle makers, bakers and other artisans as at Christkindlmarkts held in Germany. There are many exciting new vendors ready to show their wares. The festival-styled setting has drawn thousands of guests as part of the Olde World Christmas program promoted by the Ferdinand Tourism Commission and the Dubois County Visitors Center.
Live, free musical entertainment will be offered both days at the Forest Park locations, including the amazing Marionette Theater with half life-size puppets at 12:15, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. There will be live Glockenspiel performances at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday on the stage in the Forest Park High School Auditorium, located in the FPHS Lower Commons. These live cuckoo clock animations last approximately 10 minutes after the chiming of the hour.
A Reindeer Reserve Meet ‘N Greet will be held at the Ferdinand Branch Library Community Room from 11 a.m.–Noon on Saturday. One of Santa’s elves will arrive from the North Pole with a reindeer you can meet!
Be sure to tell Santa what you want for Christmas when you visit with him from 1–4 p.m. on Saturday at German American, 1020 Main St. The Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas) and the Christkind (Christmas Angel) will also be making their appearances on Saturday at the various market sites throughout the weekend.
The beautiful Monastery Immaculate Conception Church will host Saturday evening’s entertainment featuring a seasonal concert with musicians from the Evansville Philharmonic at 7 p.m. The holiday program features a wide variety of heartwarming traditional and contemporary Christmas music in strings and brass. The concert is free and open to the public, goodwill donations will be accepted. And then on Sunday, a mass with German hymns will be held at St. Ferdinand Church at 10 a.m. EST.
Free tours of Monastery Immaculate Conception will be available on Saturday from 10–11:30 a.m. and 12:30–3 p.m. and again on Sunday anytime from 12:30–3 p.m.
The Christkind herself appears on Christkindl Eve, Nov. 17, at the market’s annual 8:54 a.m. opening ceremonies. Bells chime, choirs sing and children light the way prior to Christkindl’s appearance to herald in the markt. This ceremony, free and open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. on the west hillside of the Monastery Immaculate Conception, the “Castle on the Hill” as the locals call it. A bake sale hosted by the Sisters of St. Benedict follows inside the crypt.
All six market sites will be open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST on Saturday, and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. EST on Sunday. There is no admission charge.
Visit ferdinandchristkindlmarkt.com or call 800-968-4578 for more information.
— Story and photo provided by Diane Hoppenjans, Ferdinand Tourism