Sights and smells of a German Christmas
Main Street Hagerstown hosts Christkindl Markt
Experts tell us that smell is the earliest form of memory.
And for Monika Wertman the smells from last year’s Christkindl Markt conjured up memories from her childhood in her native Germany.
“It did remind me of what I remembered from my childhood, and it was nice,” she said. “And a lot of that had to do with smells. We’re going to have the German roasted nuts again. They contributed in a very large manner to the smell. and the gluhwein, you could smell that too. “
Those who aren’t from Germany can connect with Hagerstown’s German roots through smells and sites during the second Christkindl Markt in downtown Hagerstown. The event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in University Plaza off West Washington Street.
Wertman, who owns Wertman Photography within the downtown Hagerstown district, is a member of Main Street Hagerstown.
The idea, she said, actually came during a drive on Interstate 81 South.
“Somewhere in West Virginia they were having a Christkindl Markt and I was like, ‘Hagerstown has this German tradition, we were founded by a German and we have Augustoberfest. Why wouldn’t we have a Christkindl Markt?’” she said.
Already a member of Main Street, Wertman proposed the idea of having the event last year and the group agreed.
“It’s just like in Germany with artisans and food and traditional stuff that you would find with German vendors,” she said.
Facing bone-chilling temperatures during its inaugural event, Christkindl Markt was set up in the Arts & Entertainment District with 22 vendors.
Because of The Maryland Theatre’s expansion project, Wertman said this year they moved the event to University Plaza. She said the intimate space will actually add to the coziness of the Christkindl Markt experience. And this year, there are more than 50 vendors, which include food vendors.
One traditional drink that will be served is gluhwein, a German hot mulled wine.
The event will include a live performances by a Blaskapelle German Band from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Barbara Ingram School for the Arts students who will perform Christmas carols from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Santa will be there, too, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and well as kids activities last all day. Wertman said there will be access to an indoor space to allow people to jump in and out of the cold with additional indoor shopping.
“There’s going to be a nice variety and a good time,” she said.
Wertman said she hopes the event will expand from a one-day event to 24 days, as it is in Germany.
But, she said, the group is starting with baby steps.
“We want to grow it in a nice way and that it supports itself,” she said.
And as a downtown business owner, Wertman said she’s excited to be part of such a project.
“It’s just nice to be able to partake in things that place in downtown and be part of that growth we’re really encouraging,” she said.
As for those who come to the Christkindl Markt, Wertman wants to expose them to the same smells and sites she experienced in Germany.
“That’s just a big part of that experience the smells that just mingle and mix, and to be a little bit cold but being able to bundle up and get warm with a drink and just having a good time,” she said.
If You Go ...
WHAT: Christkindl Markt
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
WHERE: University Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Hagerstown
COST: Free admission.
MORE: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.- Blaskapelle German Band; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Photos with Santa; 1:30 to 3 p.m. — Barbara Ingram Band; All Day — Kid’s Activities