The Christkindlmarket Chicago was first conceptualized in 1995 when The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Inc. (GACC Midwest) was seeking alternative ways to promote bilateral trade between the USA and Germany. Peter Flatzek, former Vice President of GACC Midwest, and Ray Lotter, then Manager of Commercial Services for GACC Midwest, initiated the partnership with city officials of Nuremberg, Germany. Mr. Lotter invited companies from Germany and the Chicago area to participate in the first Christkindlmarket Chicago in 1996. The market was an instant success and continues to flourish through the work of GACC Midwest’s subsidiary, German American Events, LLC.
The inaugural event took place on Pioneer Court in 1996 for the first time. By special invitation of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Christkindlmarket Chicago moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a staple event on the plaza ever since. With the support of the City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Christkindlmarket Chicago has grown to become one of the most popular winter attractions for locals and tourists alike.
German American Events, LLC was thrilled to bring the beloved Chicagoland tradition of the Christkindlmarket to its third location, Gallagher Way, in 2017. Visitors can experience the delight of the authentic festive European atmosphere and joy of the original Christkindlmarket Chicago at Gallagher Way.
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In 2018, German American Events, LLC proudly announced its expansion of the original Christkindlmarket to the most German of major American cities: Milwaukee! In the heart of the city at the Entertainment Plaza next to Fiserv Forum, everyone is invited to celebrate the season with festive shopping, delicious international and local delicacies, hot spiced wine (Glühwein), fine beers, hand-crafted ornaments, entertainment, family fun and much more.
The Christkindlmarkets are a perfect event for teachers and professors of the German language to take their students to for an intercultural experience. At the Christkindlmarket, students have the opportunity to practice their language skills with numerous German-speaking vendors. Several educational activities for students visiting the market include: scavenger hunts, interviews with vendors, or singing German holiday songs for all to enjoy. At the market, they get to experience authentic German traditions without having to travel any further than the city of Chicago or Milwaukee. Children can become members of the Kinder Club, a program that gives them opportunities to win prizes as well as get more involved in the history and tradition of the Christkindlmarket. From Kindergardeners to graduate students, the message is loud and clear: The Christkindlmarket is fun, fun, fun!