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The Christkindlmarket unites cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm. Inspired by the 16th century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, one of the first outdoor markets of its kind, the Christkindlmarket is well-known for its vendors’ high quality gifts and food, holiday cheer, and for being the ideal place for families to make unique memories.
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 their 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.