MIFFLINBURG, UNION COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– The rain couldn’t stop some holiday fun as German heritage and Christmas were celebrated.
“I love coming into the market. It’s just a lot of fun and there’s all the people. We’re all kids,” said Nancy Ruhl, who’s been volunteering since the beginning. “We all love it.”
The Christkindl Market is in it’s 31st year after starting in the heart of Central Pennsylvania and continuing to grow.
“We draw people from all over,” said volunteer Clarence Chambers. “I talked to people here from West Virginia this morning. This is their first time here and they said they’ll be back next year.”
For some, it’s a personal family affair.
“It is huge. So, actually, my mom’s maiden name is Kellenstein so there is a lot of German heritage even though we were just stationed over there,” said one German food vendor Katie Custer. “Especially being in a small town like Mifflinburg where there is a high German immigrant background, it is so much ingrained in our blood. It’s kind of ingrained in our history and family history and means a lot to continue this festival.”
Did we mention there’s plenty of food?
Custer is up from her home in North Carolina to help dole out some recipes brought from overseas.
“It is a tradition and it’s something we look forward to every year,” she said. “What’s really great about it is that when my parents were actually in Germany–my mom was stationed over there, she used to love these mushrooms so she wanted to bring them back to the festival.”
The family sells those mushrooms, schnitzel and a very special tea to keep warm.
“The tea is actually what’s ‘schwiegermutter’ or ‘mother-in-law’ tea,” Custer said. “It’s a hot tea made with lemon juice, orange juice, some sugar and a little bit of rum. The ongoing joke is that we don’t know if it’s because of or for the mother-in-law.”
Whether you visit to eat up, take in the sights, or come away with some traditional Christmas decor, it’s a true celebration of the areas history.
“It’s a true German market. It’s supposed to be the best one in the united states, supposedly,” noted Chambers. “We draw a big crowd every year and they have just about any kind of German food or German artifacts that you’d like.”
“Oh don’t miss it. You know what, I hope it goes on forever and ever,” said Ruhl. “It’s just a fun place to be. If you’re not in the Christmas spirit, you’ll certainly get in it when you come here.”
The market runs all the way through Saturday, December 14th, and it’s a great place to pick up schnitzel, spaetzle or have a ‘Fröliche Weihnachten.’