German Club members miss out due to Christkindlmarkt cancellation

Michelle Wan

When it comes to the holiday season, the noises of skates on the ice rink and the smell of bratwurst, Gluhewien, and the sweetness of gingerbread begin to fuse into the air of the city of Carmel. 

Christkindlmarkt has been celebrated in Hamilton County for more than three years. This holiday tradition originated in Germany, named for it’s Christmas market.  It is a combination of booths selling German-based refreshments, and venues offering different activities to participate in. 

However, there won’t be any skating rink or the scents of German goods at Carmel City Center in 2020, due to COVID-19 concerns. The Carmel community has mixed feelings about it while trying to find new alternatives and ways to cope with the cancellation.  

According to the Sponsor of the German club and German teacher Laura King, she has felt disappointed in the cancellation of Christkindlemarkt but believes there are still ways to celebrate the holidays.

Submitted Photo: Dominick Baier

“It is a disappointment that the Christkindlmarkt had closed not just in Carmel but all around Germany as well, but there are definitely alternatives to the regular ice skating and activities. Like right now to cope with Christkindlmarkt closing we are doing virtual activities in the German club.”

  Dominick Baier, President of the German club and senior, said he feels the same way as King does, but the closing of Christkindlmarkt has had a bigger impact on him because he was born into a German family. 

“The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is a highlight of the winter season and we are sad that we aren’t able to go. Going to Christkindlmarkt is a yearly tradition in our family. I always enjoy a bratwurst and hot chocolate. The ones at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt taste almost like the German ones. As a German family, the Christkindlmarkt reminds us of the ones in Germany with unique vendors and foods.” 

 From the beginning of the second open-air of Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt, an estimated 328,000 people were welcomed at the Center Green. There were at least 40 street markets, most of which are all small businesses. 

According to Baier, cancellation could cause small businesses to see a toll on the amount of income to decrease.

“Business here in Carmel will not see the traffic as in previous years. Especially right now, small businesses will not see the boost they may need. Also, the many vendors at the Christkindlmarkt will not be able to sell their goods like in previous years.”

Each year German IV and V students volunteer at Christkindlmarkt in order to get more involved in the culture. 

King said, “It is nice to see how so many students volunteer for the job. Each year I am very surprised that the number of people who decide to volunteer grows. I think it is a good learning experience, and you could also have some fun when you’re doing it.”

Not only does King and Baier see an impact personally from the closing, but CHS German Club itself also feels a sorrowful loss to the holiday season. Baier says annually German club members would volunteer at the venues, however, without Christkindlmarkt, they have felt a loss in identity. 

“One impact I have seen is for the German club. Going to the Christkindlmarkt is one of the biggest events for the club,” Baier said. 

Though King feels disappointed in the cancellation of Christkindlmarkt, she believes that this experience teaches her German students to be more grateful for Christkindlmarkt. 

“I think we are all sad about the cancellation. But I think next year the German club and the people who are close to this tradition, will be more appreciative of their opportunity to go to Christkindlmarkt from the experience they made during the unique year we have.” 

Despite the consistent disappointment due to the cancellation of Christkindlmarkt, some do not feel the immediate impact of Christkindlmarkt closing. Senior Katherine “Kate” Munson said that when she found out that the markets and ice skating were closed, it did not hit her personally as hard as it did others. 

Lin said, “I was a little disappointed when I heard it’d be closed this year, but I can understand why. I also think there are other ways to enjoy the holidays besides outdoor skating so it’s not really a huge deal to me.”