It’s time to bring a German-style Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) to Spokane

weihnachtsmarkt-annaberg

In much of northern Europe, the Weihnachtsmarkt (German for “Christmas Market”) has become not just a tradition, but a cultural institution. Imagine a Christmas Market in Spokane alongside Winter Glow and a revitalized, newly urbanized ice skating rink. (PHOTO: Grenzenloses Erzgebirge)

The launch of the Facebook page of the Spokane Chinese Lantern Festival got me thinking about the different types of cultural events that would fit Spokane in the future. Not long ago, it was difficult to imagine these types of festivals taking place in our city. But with the rise in popularity of Craft Beer Week, Inlander Restaurant Week, Terrain and Bazaar, the Spokane Winter Glow Spectacular, and now the Chinese Lantern Festival, it’s not hard to see bright possibilities for the future. Personally, I think Spokane needs to next develop its winter offerings to include a German-style Christmas Market.

In Germany, even small villages host Weihnachtsmarkten. Vendors sell hand-crafted goods, like ornaments, gifts, and toys. Typically, there’s fresh local food available, like wursts, kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), and other delicacies. Oh, and the glühwein (mulled wine) flows generously. Imagine how a small- to medium-sized Christmas Market could work in Spokane. I could see it taking place near the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park, to complement the soon-to-move ice skating rink in the Gondola Meadow and Spokane Winter Glow Spectacular, the large winter lights show. While open container laws would likely put a damper on any plans to allow patrons to roam freely with mulled wine, perhaps a wine garden (weingarten?) could be established. Or maybe a waiver of the open container law could be granted for this specific event, as has occurred in other cities.

Either way, a Christmas Market would be a really cool way for downtown Spokane to continue to distinguish itself during the holiday season. There’s even the possibility of adding a Spokane-esque twist, like curated booths a la Bazaar, or maybe a way to include winter-releases from local craft breweries. With eight months to go, perhaps something could even happen this year. Let’s make it happen.

What are your thoughts? What cultural festivals would you like to see take place in Spokane? Do you think a Christmas Market would be a good addition to downtown Spokane during the holiday season? What other new attractions would you like to see this Christmas?

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2 thoughts on “It’s time to bring a German-style Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) to Spokane

  1. I have thought that this would be a fantastic addition for years. When I moved to Chicago in 2003 and saw the Chriskindlemarket, I thought it would be perfect for RFP. Embracing the outdoor market in Winter makes people feel so festive. There is usually a warming hut that sells Gluhwine or Glogg and with the local brewers you could easily offer a winter brew tent.

    Take a look at Chicago’s event for ideas. It’s a ton of fun.

  2. I am so sad that this has not come to pass! Fall is bringing a thirst for gluhwein and as I googled seeking out local stores I came across your fabulous idea!!! I just had a friend who was in Germany for Oktoberfest and they have “tents” that look like solid buildings that they put up for the event. that could easily take place in our park throughout November and December. It would save me the trip to Leavenworth!

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