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Out to Market

Every year a nearby town hosts the Christkindl Market on the Granger Homestead in November. I’ve only ever known about these past two years, though, and yesterday was opening day!

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“Christkindl?” You may ask. “Whatever is that?”

A wonderful question! I shall enlighten you.

It is a German inspired Christmas street market (Christkindlmarkt), which is traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations over advent. The earliest recorded market of this sort dates all the way back to 1310 in Munich ─ so, they’ve been around a while! They were usually held in front of churches, and were actually considered part of a church visit (which seems silly now, but, this was the late Middle Ages . . .)

Anyway, farmers would come to town to buy and sell their goods, and now they include food, drink, and seasonal wares. I think it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, and with over 150 vendors of artisan goods spread throughout several MASSIVE tents, it does take a good while to see everything!

I especially enjoy the fact that the tents are heated, because cold. It snowed on Thursday and it hasn’t gone away yet. I fear it won’t until April again.

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Woes aside, this year’s market held an array of local and not-so-local vendors hawking their wares. Soap is a popular thing, these days, apparently. Everyone wants to make soap. We saw the traditional type: plain old bars wrapped in those neat packages that make you feel like you’re buying something special, and decidedly eccentric types: designed and shaped like cupcakes with sparkly frosting and slices of cheesecake and bags of rose petals.

There were nicks and there were knacks everywhere you turned. Spoon art. Dishware garden decor. Woodcraft cutting boards and pepper mills. Stunning glassware. Alpaca everything, which is as popular as soap. A dozen different jewelers, some with glass, some with stones, some with forks (yes, repurposed forks. It’s pretty cool). What I’d like to see more of, though, is ‘fun’ jewelry instead of ‘fine’. More whimsy!

We saw one vendor who did book art, folding and cutting the pages into some incredible pieces of decor. I especially liked the ones that held tea lights, those were pretty special! At another booth were painted eggs that really invite you to gawk and ‘Just. WOW’. There were sweaters made of cut-up sweaters, original artwork, and tiny turtles with surprised faces. There was just SO MUCH to see!

And the FOOD. So many people with their own spice blends and grill rubs, nut butters, jams and jellies, candies . . . strudel . . . There may have been a cheese strudel involved. I spent a considerable amount of time with shortbread magicians, and another considerable time sampling teas.

I didn’t go into the market intending to buy anything for myself, and I waffled a lot. The majority of my Christmas shopping has already been done and decided, and there are some people on my list who definitely do not need more stuff.

I bought tea.

It’s delicious.

But that’s not the only shopping we did. It’s interesting to note the things you notice more pointedly when you’re trying to figure them out yourself. We were looking at labeling, packaging, and, mostly, logos. Our wee farm of Wingnut Acres needs a logo, so we were looking around getting ideas, and I think we came away with some solid material to work with.

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On our way out, the busses abandoned us on the curb (something about getting children out of school). So we walked back to the parking area, which was lovely even though it was cold. We parked over at the Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historical Park, which is an absolutely beautiful place to visit, by the way.

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All in all it was a lovely afternoon, ripe with new and inspiring things to feed the imagination. Do you have any Christmas markets or bazaars that you go to? Do tell!

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