The region of Waterloo is steeped in old-world European traditions, and no time of year highlights those traditions better than Christmas. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Christkindl Market is starting the holiday hype early with an exhibit at Kitchener Town Hall.

The exhibit is free to everyone and can be viewed during regular business hours in the Berlin Tower of Kitchener City Hall. The charming displays were opened with a reception Nov. 3, where guests celebrated the long-standing holiday traditions the region has promoted and enjoyed.

Market is famous across the province for its delicious food offerings, angelic choirs, and an incredible amount of local vendors. The market is on the list of Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario and, after upholding holiday spirits for two decades, the region is now providing an informative exhibit to encourage excitement before the market officially opens for the season Dec.1.

The exhibit about the market features the story of Tony Bergmeier, a German immigrant who brought the idea of an old-world, Germanic Christmas market to the city council. The idea was inspired by his childhood, where he spent Christmases in Munich’s town square, eating and drinking with everyone in the village. He wanted to bring this cherished memory to the region and, 20 years later, the market is still an annual crowd pleaser, drawing in tourists, and providing holiday fun for locals.

Other highlights of the exhibit include pictures and artifacts from past festivals as well as lots of educational material about different European holiday traditions.

But why visit the Christkindl exhibit before the market is even open? Fellow visitor and UW post-grad student Erin Campbell explained, “I just love this time of year so much. We are lucky to live in a city with so many amazing European traditions, I think it’s important to learn about them. Plus, when you learn about the history of the market, actually going is more fun.”

Campbell added, “Generally any festival where I can buy knitwear, sing a carol, and eat deep-fried dough is something I want to celebrate.”

The exhibit about the 20th anniversary and history of the Christkindl market runs through the month of November as it leads up to the Christkindl market itself, which runs from Dec. 1 to 4. Grab yourself a mug of Gluhwein (mulled wine) and come learn about Der Weihnachtsmann (the Christmas Night Man)!

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