When the Naperville Christkindlmarket opens Nov. 25, patrons will be able to purchase a special mug, unique to the suburban location. – Original Credit: (Courtesy of German American Events)
When the Naperville Christkindlmarket opens Nov. 25 at Naper Settlement, it will carry a familiar air of the popular Chicago market while incorporating some new elements special to Naperville.
Workers have already been setting up large white tents for the event, and with the upcoming installation of vendor booths, the Settlement will transform into a German and European market featuring vendors from around the world.
Run as an open-air market by German American Events, Naperville Christkindlmarket will host three walk-in cabin vendors people might recognize from the Daley Plaza location. Wooden nutcracker and ornament vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt, Frank’s Ornament House and Sweet Castle, which sells German candies, chocolate, nuts and popcorn, will all have walk-in tents.
Kate Bleeker, manager of German American Events, says about 20 percent of the vendors will be unique to the Naperville Christkindlmarket location. The vendors come from several countries, including Germany, Austria, Russia, Ukraine and Canada. Local vendors will be at the market as well.
"With the expansion, it gave us a chance to open up the opportunity for vendors not already at Chicago location," Bleeker said.
Food offerings at the Christkindlmarket will include raclette, – a melted cheese from vendor Baked Cheese Haus. The cheese will be melted over items including potatoes and frankfurter sausages.
Unique to the Naperville location will be a specialty hot chocolate vendor who will sell handcrafted chocolate beverages. A pierogi vendor will help round out the Christkindlmarket’s food offerings.
While this year marks the Christkindlmarket’s first year in Naperville, Bleeker said "we would love to be in Naperville for many years." The Naperville location could grow even larger than the Chicago Christkindlmarket in the coming years, Bleeker added.
Christine Jeffries, president of the Naperville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said there could be up to 10,000 people filtering in and out of the market on weekend days. Many of the patrons will be new visitors to Naperville and its downtown area.
Naperville prides itself on free parking, and Jeffries says she doesn’t think motorists will have trouble finding spots. The Water Street parking garage opened Nov. 4, adding 400 new spots just north of Naper Settlement. Jeffries says the bureau has also partnered with city hall, the school district and park district to provide additional parking options. Naper Settlement will run a shuttle from the Naperville Metra station.
Officials do not yet have an economic impact estimate for the Christkindlmarket will, but Jeffries says it is expected to make a "positive impact on the whole downtown." From Naper Settlement "you walk across the bridge and the whole downtown area opens up to you," Jeffries said.
Hotel Indigo, set to open Nov. 18 in downtown Naperville’s Water Street District, will offer guests special Christkindlmarket packages. The deal will include accommodations, two Christkindlmarket mugs – unique to the Naperville Christkindlmarket – and breakfast vouchers for the hotel’s Plank Bar & Kitchen.
"We are thrilled that an event of this magnitude is happening as we open," said Doug Kelly, Hotel Indigo director of sales. "We hope it will give both Naper Settlement and The Indigo a great opportunity to show visitors what an extraordinary leisure destination we have here."
The Naperville Christkindlmarket will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23. Closer to Christmas, the market will be open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 19 to 23 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 24.