Christmas market rings in holiday season

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

Starting Nov. 21, the center of Kaiserslautern will lure visitors to
its traditional Christmas market with the scents of Christmas cookies,
gingerbread, waffles and hot chestnuts. Deputy Mayor Dr. Arne
Oeckinghaus will officially open the Kaiserslautern Christmas market at
6 p.m. from a stage on Schillerplatz.
Illumination of the market, which also is set up around Stiftskirche, and all lights in the center streets will be turned on.

***image1***During the opening ceremony, Dean Angelika Keller will say a few
thoughtful words; a local dance school will present its winter
children’s show; and the Pfalztheater’s musical ensemble Zugkraft will
perform brass music.

The market consists of more than 40 little wooden houses and booths
decorated with fir tree garlands and light bulbs. Vendors sell typical
Christmas items such as ornaments, candles, angels, nutcrackers and
Advent wreaths. Shoppers will also find ideas for Christmas presents
such as wooden toys, leather items, glass products, jewelry and pottery.

Culinary specialties being offered include Thüringer bratwursts, pizza,
roasted chestnuts, cinnamon waffles and the typical winter drink,
“glühwein,” a heated red wine spiced with cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Everyday from 1 to 7 p.m., visitors can watch how the two artists,
Daniel Becker and Richard Henkel, will work on their stone sculptures.

“Again this year, it’s most important to us to offer a traditional
entertaining program,” said Alexander Hess from the project office for
city events. “We will present several musical highlights to include the
bands Crime and Passion, Nimm 2 and various gospel choirs.”

The full program can be found in a flyer which will be distributed in
stores, restaurants, banks and the tourist information office in the
city hall.

Several special events will take place at the Christmas market. Santa
Claus will make his appearance and give out gifts to children on Santa
Claus Day, Dec. 6. A special event regarding the FIFA world cup next
year is scheduled for Dec. 9, when the official drawing of soccer teams
will take place. The traditional turkey raffle will be at 6 p.m. Dec.

Another highlight will be the biggest Advent calendar of the Westpfalz
area which can be seen on the front of a building which houses a toy
store. Each day at 5 p.m. from Dec. 1 to 24, a new window will be
opened and children will receive gifts or get to listen to Christmas
stories and poems.

Children also can enjoy a little bakery set up near Stiftskirche, where they can bake their own Christmas cookies.

***image2***Kaiserslautern’s sister cities will also have booths at the market.
Representatives from Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Pleven, Bulgaria;
Saint Quentin, France; and Silkeborg, Denmark, will display typical
items of their countries.

For the second year, the German-American Community Office will participate in the Christmas market Dec.1.

“As a holiday season gift we would like to bring the American spirit to
our German neighbors,” said Sissi Koesling from GACO. “We will have
performances by American dancers, singers and school groups.”

The Kaiserslautern Christmas market will be open through Dec. 22. Hours
are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 t o 9 p.m.