For Maria Murphy, the Christmas season never ends.
As the market master for Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt, she spends most the year planning for the five-week German-inspired holiday market, and she said many changes are in store for the second annual event set for Nov. 17 to Dec. 23 in the Center Green.
Last year, with only months to prepare, organizers were overwhelmed by crowds three to four times larger than projected. This year, they’re ready.
“The speed of service and ability of the equipment that’s coming this year will allow for a lot more people to get through, where I think a lot of people walked away last year,” Murphy said.
Changes include a new layout, with the market stretching nearly all the way to the Monon Trail on its east side. The number of huts is only growing from the 40 offered last year to 47, and they will be spaced further apart to minimize congestion.
New huts will include an activity and program area, Mr. Muffin’s train display and a specialized grill for cooking meats. Several warming stations also will be added.
Organizers have ordered additional products to prepare for large crowds. Last year, the market ran out of its 10,000 boot-shaped commemorative mugs in nine days, but this year they’ve ordered 30,000 of them and 30,000 train-shaped mugs. They’ll also be offering an Indiana-themed beer stein in addition to a Carmel-themed one.
In its inaugural year, Murphy purchased products – mostly from Germany – to be sold in 19 booths that were staffed by seasonal workers hired by the Christkindlmarkt. This year, the nonprofit will only be responsible for seven of the huts, Murphy said.
“A lot of those (huts) are things that we want to be doing long term, such as the custom beer (stein) featuring Carmel and Indiana, the Glühwein mugs and guest services,” she said. “We will need to only staff for those things, which is more appropriate.”
The City of Carmel gave upwards of $400,000 to the Christkindlmarkt in its first year and dropped that amount to $125,000 for 2018. Murphy said the market could possibly be self-sufficient in 2019 and operate without a grant.
“The city may want to add 20 more structures or see the benefit in providing the grant for a specific installation or something like that, but as far as the market itself needing it, that’s what we want to get away from so that we’re not a drain,” she said.
Having a full year to plan this year’s market has made a world of difference, said Murphy, who is relishing her role.
“Christmas and Germany are a part of my daily life,” she said. “It’s been really, really fun to tap back into that love for the German culture and my first experiences with German Christmas and the beauty that it holds in my heart.”
Several new foods and gift items will be available at the Christkindlmarkt this year.
- It’s A Wrap – gift wrapping service
- Craze Designs – imported hats, gloves, scarves, and socks
- Meine Kleine Pickelhaube – toy soldiers and collectible figurines
- Out of the Blue – Polish pottery
- Marlene’s German Collectibles – imported German Christmas pieces
- Perlkoenig – imported German jewelry
- Villeroy & Boch – imported German china, including new custom-designed coffee mugs
- Bavarian Sweet Shopppe – imported German candies, sodas and sweets
- Artisan Bakers – traditional German seasonal baked goods
- Baked Cheese Haus – baked artisan cheeses, drizzled with sauces
- Döner Kebab – a favorite German street food, introduced by Turkish immigrants
- Kaffee & Kuchen – coffee and schmaltzkuchen (small, fried German pastries)