Christkindlmarkt, the popular holiday festival that takes place in Bethlehem each holiday season, kicks off its 20th year today at 11 a.m.
This year’s festival features 125 vendors each week – the most in the event’s history – and more than 200 in all during its six-week run.
Established in 1993 the Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem holiday festival has welcomed more than 950,000 people through its doors over the past 19 years.
In recognition of the nearly one million people who have visited the holiday market over the years, ArtsQuest will present the one-millionth Christkindlmarkt visitor, expected to walk through the doors sometime in December, with a holiday gift pack including four Christkindlmarkt season passes for life, a $100 ArtsQuest gift card and four passes to see “Bethlehem: The Christmas City” film at the ArtsQuest Center.
Recognized as one of the top holiday markets in the world by Travel + Leisure, Christkindlmarkt features aisles of handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans; live holiday music; glassblowing and ice sculpting demonstrations; jolly, old St. Nicholas and more.
In 2011 more than 63,000 people visited the event, with guests coming from throughout Pennsylvania, as well as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
Christkindlmarkt, presented by ArtsQuest, is open Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 15-Dec. 23 (closed Thanksgiving) Hours are Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for a daily pass and $18 for a season pass (ages 12 and under are admitted free).
Christkindlmarkt is located at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 E. First St., Bethlehem. For tickets and information, visit www.artsquest.org.