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Christmas Village opens for fourth year, brings German traditions to Baltimore

Posted at 3:16 PM, Nov 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 17:56:32-05

The West Shore Park at the Inner Harbor was transformed for the fourth year into Christkindlesmarkt, or as some know it Christmas Village.

Lighted deer top roofs, Christmas trees dot the venue, strings of lights hang overhead and holiday music plays in the background immersing you in the merry season.

More than 50 international and local vendors fill booths inside a heated tent and outside around a Christmas tree. Jewelery, ornaments, all kinds of gifts for you, friends or family, along with food and wine abound at the venue.

It's put on by a crew of five Germans who travel to the U.S. six months out of the year. The festival runs from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Eve.

"We've worked every single day, crazy hours to put so much energy into it and you see how it comes up and it's just very cool to see all your work come together," Project Manager Nancy Schmalz said they've been setting up for the past two weeks.

The tradition started in Philadelphia, nine years ago, by a German professor, and came to Baltimore four years ago. 

The German festival has signature food, beverages, like mulled wine, and festivities, like Christkind coming to light the tree.

"I tell you she's a super star in Germany, when I tell my Grandma hey we have the original Christkind she is always flipping out." Schmalz described Christkind as their version of Santa, with long golden curly hair, and a crown. She historically brings presents on Christmas Eve to good boys and girls.

Christkind will light the Christmas tree as part of their opening ceremony on Saturday,  November 26th. Saint Nicholas will be at Christmas Village to listen to children's wishes and take pictures every day.

"Every thanksgiving so far we've woken up in the morning and come down to the German festival," Michelle Dannan said this has been their family tradition.

Both she and her husband, Tom, have German roots and enjoy the array of things to do at the festival, like arts and crafts, concerts, and wine tastings.

"This is the first Christmas music we've really heard anything like that, so it's good for the kids to get into the Christmas spirit," Tom Dannan said.

The festival is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The festival is closed November 29th, December 6th, and 13th. It's free to attend on weekdays and $5 for adults, $3 for kids on the weekends.