After being canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt are eager for its return.
The annual German-inspired holiday festival will run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 24 at Carter Green, 10 Carter Green in Carmel.
“The market is going to be more magical than ever, with more sparkly lights everywhere, some new food vendors, new product vendors and the pavilion will be there this winter,” said Maria Murphy, Carmel Christkindlmarkt CEO and market master.
The most visible change this year will be the addition of a winter pavilion, which was originally planned to be built over the amphitheater on the east side of Carter Green. Plans to remove the amphitheater led to an outcry loud enough that city officials reversed course and decided to place the winter pavilion west of the below-grade amphitheater, which will remain in place. Murphy said a large Christmas tree will be placed in the amphitheater during the market.
The redwood pavilion will include a stage surrounded by seating areas to give guests a place to congregate and shelter during the Christkindlmarkt and Festival of Ice, which runs through March. After that, the pavilion will be removed until the next Christkindlmarkt.
New this year, Actors Theater of Indiana will present a musical Christmas revue in the pavilion four times daily on Saturdays and Sundays during the market.
“This is something for many years we’ve been looking at doing at the market,” Murphy said. “We think having a show like this will add value to the guest experience.”
New food items at the market this year include a döner kebab, which features meat from a vertical rotisserie served as a sandwich or wrap, and kartoffelpuffer, a potato pancake.
Traditional favorites will return as well, including schnitzel, crepes, raclette, the Wurst Haus and the Glühwein Pyramid.
Several new gift items will be available for purchase, including intricate German ornaments made of straw and Carmel-branded items at a new booth operated by All Things Carmel.
Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and noon to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Learn more and see a complete list of vendors at carmelchristkindlmarkt.com/food-and-gifts.
The Ice at Carter Green will be open Nov. 20 through Feb. 27, 2022. For pricing and hours, visit theiceatcartergreen.com.
A tough decision
Christkindlmarkt organizers did not take the decision to cancel the market in 2020 lightly. They made the tough call in the summer of 2020 after determining they couldn’t risk the financial impact of placing orders for a market that might not happen.
“If we invested all that money into preparing for the market in 2020 and the market got canceled, we would really be struggling to be able to execute a market in 2021,” said Maria Murphy, Carmel Christkindlmarkt CEO and market master. “It was kind of a sink-or-swim situation.”
Murphy said she expects increased attendance at this year’s event.
“The reception we’ve been getting on social media and the number of views of our website has been astronomical,” Murphy said. “I think we’re going to be busier than we’ve ever been.”