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Christkindlmarkt opens at This is the Place Heritage Park

The popular German Christmas Market Christkindlmarkt launched this week with 10th anniversary festivities underway at This is the Place Heritage Park. (Meghan Thackrey, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – The popular German Christmas Market Christkindlmarkt launched this week with 10th anniversary festivities underway at This is the Place Heritage Park.

The park was filled with energetic volunteers earlier this week who were unloading cars and trucks and setting up, hanging lights, attaching signs, putting the backdrop on the stage, and filling the booths before the opening of what has become a beloved Christmas tradition in Salt Lake City.

It was expected to attract 100,000 guests over its four-day run.

Antje Evans, born and raised in Germany and a board member from its inception, smiled brightly as she invited visitors to return, "Christkindlmarkt, Salt Lake City, love this place!"

Evans remembered the magic of markets in cities throughout her homeland as a child and then she took her own children.

She was thrilled to have the market here and is excited to lead the school tours. "We have about a thousand students from elementary to high school and this year. I will be talking to them about traditions," she said.

Many, she said, do not realize that one of our favorite traditions, the Tannenbaum, or Christmas tree, came from Germany.

Each year, choirs of adults and children perform while others create a live Nativity. They reenact the story of St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who divided his cloak and gave half to a beggar in a snowstorm. Eventually, he became a Christian.

Children participate in a lantern procession, seeking out the man who went on to live a life of service.

Last year, there was no market, just a service project helping the Navajo Nation.

On this 10th anniversary, First lady Abby Cox is leading the service project. She asked patrons to put gift card donations at a dropbox in the park or at any Kneader's location for Utah's foster children and for our refugees.

"People are not only opening their wallets to help them, they are opening their hearts and just reaching out and asking, 'How can we help?' And this is one perfect way that you can help is through this gift card drive," Cox said.

Allyson Chard, who lived with her family in Germany for a few years, brought the idea to Utah. She is the founder but gives credit to a board of 25 members, each of whom she said brings a different vision to the market.

Now there are 110 vendors who offer handcrafted gifts and homemade treats. "We really try to look for people who have a European twist, so you'll find a lot of things you don't find anywhere else and the food is amazing!"

Christkindlmarkt is open through Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at This is the Place Heritage Park.

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