Williamsport says 'guten Tag' with Christkindlmarkt
WILLIAMSPORT — Historians trace the origins of the European Christmas market to 14th-century Austria and Germany.
Seven centuries later, 2018 will mark Williamsport’s first Christkindlmarkt (the name derives from the German for “Christ child market”) at Kelly Moore Sheds on Virginia Avenue in Halfway. It will be held on Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, noon to 8 p.m Saturday, Dec 15, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec 16.
Kelly Moore Sheds co-owner Meredith Poffenberger Moore said she began planning the event nearly two years ago after she was unable to make a trip to the famed Mifflinburg, Pa., Christmas Market.
“I thought, well, why don’t I have my own?” she said.
Moore described how she and her husband decided to host the event at their shed business on the outskirts of Williamsport after their original plans for a location near Sharpsburg fell through. She recruited more than 24 vendors to rent sheds and tent space on the nearly-3-acre property. The remainder of the grounds will be used for parking.
She noted that many European markets house vendors in stalls that resemble sheds.
“We wanted to do something at our shed lot that’s reminiscent of the German markets over in Europe,” she said.
Moore had praise for Main Street Hagerstown’s Christkindl Market, held on Dec. 1.
“Mine will be different because we’re creating … a Christmas village, if you will,” she said, with plans to decorate each shed with Christmas lights and greenery.
Moore stated that only two of her vendors participated in the recent Main Street Christmas market. Williamsport’s version will feature food from Schatzie’s German Deli, which will also serve traditional glühwein (German mulled wine). German Christmas Delights will sell cookies and other baked treats.
According to the Williamsport Christkindlmarkt Facebook page, goods ranging from crafts and jewelry to birdhouses and cat toys will be offered for sale. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own mugs in order to reduce litter. Canned and boxed goods will be collected for food pantries; pet food and toys will also be donated to animal shelters.
Moore said that outdoor burn barrels will be used to provide warmth, and vendors have been encouraged to bring propane heaters for their booths. Frederick Santa and Mrs. Claus will be among the Christmas characters on hand. Moore also hopes to have musicians and a German Krampus, who she described as “kind of the anti-Saint Nicholas.” She explained that Krampus’ traditional job is to scare mischief-making children in order to get them ready for Christmas.
“A portion of the proceeds will be benefitting two churches that we go to,” Moore added.
The German Reformed Churches, Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ and Mount Vernon Evangelical and Reformed Church in Keedysville, are both headed by the Rev. Delancy Catlett.
Moore said nearly 50,000 people had expressed interest on the event’s Facebook page. She hoped that hosting the market would draw more attention to Kelly Moore Sheds.
“It is not your typical shed lot,” Moore said, noting that their gift shop sells crafts, ornaments, and other vintage goods year-round.
Moore said that one day she dreams of visiting the European Christmas markets. In the meantime, she has already begun making plans for next year’s Williamsport market.
“We want to do this every year,” she said, “and put Kelly Moore Sheds and Marketplace on the map for being a unique shed business.”