From faux snow to bacon margaritas to Christmas knickknack shopping, the fifth annual Texas Christkindl Market will again one-up itself in duration — nearly a full month — and in things to do when it kicks off Nov. 27 outside Globe Life Park in Arlington.
The German-themed daily street festival, popular for its food and drink, arts and crafts, and entertainment, will again sprawl along Road to Six Flags Street along the north side of the stadium and, for the first time, along Nolan Ryan Expressway on the ballpark’s west side to accommodate a new children’s play area, Kinder Market.
Organizers are billing the Texas Christkindl Market as one of the largest open-air holiday markets in the Southwest.
That’s where the November snow falls, or is dumped, throughout each three-day weekend, Friday through Sunday. An area ice company will grind its product into fresh snow on site and will stand ready to add more as needed, said Decima Cooper Mullen, senior director of marketing and public relations for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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“Believe it or not, there will be real snow that kids can play in and build snowmen and throw snowballs,” she said.
When the kids get tired of the snow, she added, they can decorate gingerbread houses, listen to storytellers from the Arlington Public Library, and ride carousel horses — and real ponies.
Patrons chilled by the snow or whatever weather greets the event can huddle in the expanded Warming Hut, a closed tent now with a capacity of 200 people.
About 60 vendors, the most ever for the market, have signed up — most of them for every day but some just on weekends. It’s a good time to sample authentic German cuisine, like potato pancakes, funnel cakes and strudel, including one baker’s strudels that apparently go well with his bacon margaritas.
This year’s market runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23.
This is the bureau’s first time to organize and operate the festival, duties handed off by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is still one of the five partners, which also include the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys and Six Flags Over Texas.
“We wanted to grow it,” Cooper Mullen said. “And what better place than the CVB, who promotes tourism.”
Last year, organizers changed the name from Arlington Christkindl Market, deciding that the Texas prefix would signal a larger tourism event. They’re billing it as one of the largest open-air holiday markets in the Southwest.
The bureau plans to create a nonprofit agency — its working name is Spirit of Arlington — to raise funds to make future additions to the market without pressure to charge admission.
“We’re still in the early stages of it,” bureau President and CEO Ronnie Price said. “It’s something we’re looking at down the road that would allow us to create great opportunity for the community.”
The bureau set a $450,000 budget for the Christmas market, about 10 percent of the bureau’s total budget, which comprises hotel-motel tax revenues allotted by the city. But officials hope to offset most or all of that through sponsorships, vendor leases and other revenue.
An ice-skating rink could be the featured new addition for next year. Officials considered it for this year but decided that the cost — at least $80,000 — would take too much of the budget this year.
“It won’t be as big as the Galleria’s,” Councilwoman Sheri Capehart said of the rink, “but bigger than one of those little ones with four or five people on it.”
Capehart conceived the idea for an Arlington Christkindl Market during a 2007 trip with other city leaders to the German town of Bad Koenigshofen, Arlington’s sister city since 1951.
The Christmas markets in Germany are sacred and popular, with roots dating back to the 14th century.
Arlington’s first Christkindl market was a four-day event in 2011, and it has returned annually, with more days each time. This year’s runs 27 days, through Dec. 23, closer to the length of typical Christkindl markets in the U.S. and Germany.
“We’ve just seen the huge potential of this event,” said Barbara Kovacevich, newly hired as the bureau’s director of special events in time to take on Cristkindl as her first assignment. “The minute you walk into the market and throughout the lighting and decor, it’s special.”
▪ The Texas Christkindl Market needs volunteers to be greeters, help with the market “and be part of the experience.”
▪ Schedule: txchristkindlmarket.com/events
▪ Parking: Lot J at Globe Life Park in Arlington, the northwest, or home plate, entrance
Four things to see and do
Opening ceremony: 6 p.m. Nov. 27. The Christkindl Angel lights the Christmas tree.
Children’s Lantern Parade: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 9 and 16. The children light lanterns as part of a tradition to catch a glimpse of St. Martin, a character of legend known for his generosity.
Photo/selfie ops: Pose with the large-scale Advent wreath, 16-foot nutcrackers, the Christkindl Tree, the Christkindle Angel Wings, to name a few.
German engineering: Browse for handmade cuckoo clocks, beer steins, regular-size nutcrackers, ornaments. Many vendors will demonstrate how they make their goods and offer them for sale afterward.