Christkindlmarkt, a centuries-old German and Austrian tradition celebrating the Christmas season, is returning to Lebanon County in two events at the Coleman Memorial Park and Schaefferstown.

These celebrations (literally “Christ Child Market”) are still very popular in Europe, and they have been making their way to the United States ever since European immigrants began replicating the tradition in their settlements.

Coleman Memorial Park prepares for tomorrow’s market

Tomorrow, Dec. 7, will see the Coleman Memorial Park filled with vendors and outdoor booths. The market will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and most activities will be gathered around the carriage house. A heated tent will be set up for those who want to escape the chill of the open air.

Santa Claus himself will attend the Coleman Park event.

This event, now in its seventh year, has roots in the traditional German Christkindl Market and naturally features many German and Pennsylvania Dutch traditions. Father Christmas will be there for children who want a to tell him their Christmas wishes directly, and the somewhat less jolly Belsnickel will also make an appearance.

There will be a raffle like this one on Saturday, with gift baskets galore.

The booths will hold both products and activities. Here are just some of the things that will be available:

  • Apple dumplings, sticky buns, Shuey’s pretzels, fudge, bratwurst, hotdogs, shoo-fly pie, sauerkraut, Moravian sugar cakes and more
  • Honey varieties, beeswax, and essential oils
  • Handmade pottery, jewelry, clothing, pillows, and holiday decorations
  • Artwork, along with several crafts activities, including rock painting and Christmas gourd crafts
  • A gift basket raffle
  • Beverages including hot chocolate, cider, and non-alcoholic German Glühwein (plus artisanal jellies and chocolates that can be paired with beer or wine)

For more information and a complete list of vendors for the Coleman Memorial Park event, which is hosted by the non-profit Friends of Coleman Memorial Park, visit the Friends website or Facebook event page.

Schaefferstown Christkindlmarkt

Next week, Dec. 13-14, Historic Schaefferstown Inc. will host their Christkindlmarkt, now in its 15th year. This event will take place indoors on the lower level of the Thomas R. Brendle Museum at 111 North Market Street. It will run on Friday from 4-8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A variety of regional crafts and handmade artwork will be available during the market, including soaps, rugs, quilts, birdhouses, wreathes, woven baskets, pottery, carvings, and more. Pets and smoking are prohibited inside the building.

The Saturday market will run alongside a traditional tavern lunch being held across the street at the Gemberling-Rex House, 106 North Market Street. This lunch does require a $16 reservation ahead of time, although the market is free. Five full-service sittings will be held at 10 a.m., 11 a.m, 12 a.m, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. To reserve a seat at any of these times, call (717) 949-2244.

For more information and a complete list of vendors for the Schaefferstown event, visit the Historic Schaefferstown Inc. website or Facebook event page, or call Harriet Faren at (717) 304-9398 or Peg Fitzkee at (717) 949-2697.

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Josh Groh is a Cornwall native and writer who began reporting for LebTown in 2019. He continued to regularly contribute to LebTown while earning a degree in environmental science at Lebanon Valley College, graduating in 2021. Since then, he has lead conservation crews in Colorado and taken on additional...


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