Carmel’s World-Renowned Christkindlmarkt Is Back
Writer / Alli Donovan
Merry Christmas, or, “Frohe Weihnachten!” It’s that time of year again. The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is opening in the month of November, and the City of Carmel is gearing up for its authentic German Christmas market and festival.
Since its inception in 2016 and launch in 2017, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt has become a beloved tradition and staple in the community. It has won awards and gained recognition all over the country, and Maria Murphy, CEO and Market Master, is excited for the Market’s fifth appearance in Carmel’s City Center.
Murphy explains that Carmel’s own Mayor James Brainard visited Germany back in 2016 and was truly inspired by German celebrations. He saw that Christkindlmarkt events in Germany not only improved quality of life, but provided opportunity for economic development in the wintertime – typically when fewer tourists come to Carmel.
Upon his return from Germany, Brainard quickly wanted to implement a German Christmas event in Carmel. Murphy, a banker at the time, heard of opportunities to become involved with the new event and quickly jumped in to help.
“My family here in the U.S. did not celebrate Christmas,” Murphy says. “I graduated high school early and I went to Germany in what would have been my senior year of high school as a foreign exchange student. My first Christmas was a German Christmas.”
Upon attending her first Christkindlmarkt meeting, Murphy fell in love with the mayor’s ideas for Carmel’s own authentic German Christmas market and festival. She volunteered, went to committee meetings, spoke with the mayor directly, and ultimately landed her dream job of spearheading what would soon become a massively popular holiday market.
As the Market season quickly approaches, there are new events in store for the 2022 Christkindlmarkt. Murphy says 2023 planning is already in the works as well.
A new feature coming to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt is a “Werkstatt” – German for “workshop.” German artisans are flying in from Germany to provide demonstrations of their crafts inside one of the Market huts, and attendees can visit. Although the details are not on the website yet, it will be included on the event map and schedule.
Additionally, Murphy is excited for many of the vendors and partners – both local and international – to put their talents on display, and celebrate their many months of planning. One of the new huts for the 2022 Christkindlmarkt will provide guests with imported candles and beautifully decorated Christmas stars.
“All of vendors have been working year-round to perfect recipes, menu items, product lines and more, to make this Market really special,” Murphy says. “It’s very exciting.”
There are many reasons why Carmel’s holiday market is successful. Murphy gives special credit to three factors – Brainard as the inspiration for the event, the city’s endless amount of support, and a clear mission and goal of being the most authentic Christkindlmarkt in the country.
“Anything we need, I have resources and support from the city,” Murphy says. “It really makes a difference and is the determining factor that makes Carmel stand out from all the rest.”
The authentic holiday festival has attracted more than one million visitors in its six years since opening. USA Today 10BEST named the Carmel Christkindlmarkt the 2019 and 2021 Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best Holiday Market. Additionally, Taste of Home magazine named it a top Christmas market in Indiana in 2017, and Fox News named it a top holiday market in 2021.
The 2022 Carmel Christkindlmarkt begins on November 19 and ends on December 30. Admission is free to the public, and fees are charged at vendor huts for any food or gifts purchased. There is also a fee for ice skating. More information on the open-air holiday market is on the official website.
If you are hoping to get involved with the Christkindlmarkt, opportunities are still available. The team is looking for volunteers, sponsors and entertainers, and is also hiring. Check out the website for more information at carmelchristkindlmarkt.com.