Local Germans and Irish Show Off Their Culture and Cuisine During Holiday Season

By Patrick Butler

If you can pronounce Weihnachtsmarkt you should probably get free admission to DANK Haus’s Christmas Market Dec. 16, but everybody – even you – will still be asked to pay the worth-every-pfenning $5 donation at the door. The indoor market will be open Saturday from Noon to 8 p.m.

According to Monica Jirak, the German-American Cultural Center’s executive director, “we’re really trying to bring people inside to shop locally and to make this the ultimate German gift destination.” Entertainment will include carols by the Deutsch Amerikanischer Kinderchor and a visit from Santa, who may make a grand entry in his sleigh outside DANK Haus at 1 p.m.

In addition to Santa’s appearance, Jirak added, there’s even more good news, Krampus (the legendary Central European “Christmas Devil” who punishes naughty children) won’t be coming to the day-long party.

The already signed-up vendors include Chopping Block, Rare Dirndl, Hilary’s Cookies, Karl Raack Studio, Everlasting Fire Art and much more and the sponsors of the event include Himmel’s Restaurant, Glunz Brewery, Schumacher’s Imports and MB Financial Bank, Jirak said, noting that refreshments will include goulash, bratwurst, and a German version of macaroni and cheese called Käsespätzle, to be washed down with a special German Christmas beer.

Jirak said this will be the first time DANK has hosted an indoor Yuletide fair, adding “We thought about this for a long time and it didn’t make sense to hold an outdoor event when the temperature could well be freezing.”

For $8, visitors will also have an opportunity to ride in a horse-drawn carriage around Lincoln Square, she added. Space is limited, so reserve your seat in Santa’s Sleigh today. https://dankhaus.com/event-2694464

All proceeds from the fair’s activities will go to support cultural programming at DANK Haus.

Over in Northcenter, for all things Irish, head to Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. The Bistro will be hosting the fourth annual Chicago’s Irish Christmas Market, December 8-10.

The traditional outdoor market will be held in the Bistro’s parking lot as well as vendors and other activities inside too. The market showcases Irish artisan gifts, seasonal fare, visits with Santa and festive entertainment.

Enjoy a tasty Irish bite or two from the Bistro’s full menu inside, or from several warm offerings that will be available outside. Dinky Donuts is returning as well with hot, fresh donut holes made on site.

You can wash it all down with some Irish standards like Guinness, Harp and Slane’s Irish Whiskey, or you can coffee, Irish tea and hot chocolate for the kids (young and old). Sláinte.

Festivities will start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, with the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce Holiday Tree Lighting in Town Square (4100 N. Damen Ave.) with caroling by the Lane Tech High School Glee Club and free hot chocolate. Santa will be on hand to lead a parade from the Town Square to Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro at 7 p.m.

Santa will be at the Irish Bistro and available for photos on Friday, Dec. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can make your reservation online. https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3175404?date=1811293

Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Dec. 9; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10. Visit Chicago’s Irish Christmas Market’s Facebook page for updates. https://www.facebook.com/irishxmasmarket/

Admission is free.

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