Hamilton Christkindlmarkt, featuring German wares and food, opens today

The Hamilton Christkindlmarkt, an annual two-day event that celebrates the city’s German heritage, will return to the Butler County Fairgrounds Event Center with an array of German wares, food and live entertainment.

“Christkindlmarkt offers a German-style market experience and we’re creating and celebrating German heritage in Hamilton, Ohio,” said Barb Zellner, retired event chair.

The Hamilton Christkindlmarkt will be 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Butler County Fairgrounds Event Center. Cost of admission is $1 per person for guests ages 12 and older.

Hamilton Christkindlmarkt was founded on the tradition of German Christmas markets, which are held in Germany in October and December. Typically, the markets feature German food, drinks, live music, dance, and vendors with toys, clothing, jewelry, cheeses, chocolates, furniture and more.

There will be more than 50 participating vendors. Kids can enjoy a Kinderfest children’s area and a visit from Santa on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Plus, there will be live entertainment and German food available both days. Due to the growth, the event moved to the Butler County Fairgrounds Event Center last year from the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton. The first year, the event was held over three days at the park in tents, before it was Marcum Park.

“The first year, we had a blizzard. It started snowing on Friday and it didn’t stop until Sunday. It was the coldest thing I’ve ever done. So, the following year, we decided to move into the Marriott, and that worked really well for us, but then we outgrew the Marriott. We usually had around 25 booths. Now, this year, we’ve doubled,” Zellner said.

German gift items will include ornaments, beer steins, pyramids and nutcrackers as well as other popular ideas such as T-shirts, floral décor and wooden toys. Hanover Winery will be serving and selling its signature wines.

“I love meeting all the people. We have 15 or 20 repeat vendors, and they’ve become like family. You get to know them and what they bring…All the people from Hamilton come out, and now, we realize we’re getting people from all over, not just from Hamilton. It’s really growing,” said Zellner.

The entertainment line-up will feature The Fest Meisters on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, Gerhard Albinus will perform from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Enzian German dancers will take the stage on Saturday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. and The Klaberheads will headline the event on Saturday night from 5 to 9 p.m.

Food offerings will include selections from Wassler Meats and Servatii’s. Brats, metts and hot dogs will be available, along with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and green beans. Servatii’s desserts will include cream puffs, apple and cherry strudel and chocolate mousse. Guests may purchase individual items and meals. There will also be German beer and wine as well as soft drinks and coffee available.

“This is a great way to kick off the holidays, and it will get everybody in the Christmas spirit,” said Zellner. “You can buy your Christmas presents, have a good meal and enjoy the German entertainment.”

How to go

What: Hamilton Christkindlmarkt

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 3

Where: Butler County Fairgrounds Event Center, 1715 Fairgrove Ave. and Ohio 4

Admission: $1 admission for attendees ages 12 and older. Free parking.

More info.: sites.google.com/view/christkindlmarkt-hamiltonoh/home and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100067439631128

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