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ByAnna Van Waardhuizen

Now Seeking Vendors and Performers!


Christmas markets are more than just seasonal events. They are cultural experiences. If you don’t believe it, read the post written by our newly added Board Director, Doug Whittle. It paints a vivid picture of what makes Christmas markets so popular around the world.

Des Moines European Heritage Association is excited to bring that experience to Des Moines, but we can’t do it alone. We need vendors and performers to help us create the entertaining and educational experience of Christkindlmarket Des Moines. Applications for vendor stalls and performers (both general and stage) are now available and must be completed by June 15, 2016.

Why is finding vendors so important to us? They are an essential part of any Christmas market. After all, there would be no market without them. Vendor offerings of handmade gifts and specialty items create a shopping experience for visitors unlike any other during the holiday season. Shoppers can find nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, clothes and toys for children of all ages all in one place.

Stall sponsor plea

However, don’t think vendors are limited to just gifts! Traditional food and drinks are some of the most popular offerings at Christmas markets around the world. Is there anything better than hot spiced wine (Glühwein) or roasted nuts on a cold December day?

Performers at Christkindlmarket Des Moines are just as important for creating an immersive atmosphere for visitors. Whether it’s traditional folk music, clogging, yodeling or choirs, each act adds to the experience. Each one is an opportunity to share heritage and tradition with attendees.

If you or your business is interested in participating in Christkindlmarket Des Moines in either of these capacities, please read more on the process on either of the applications.

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

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ByAnna Van Waardhuizen

Sponsor Spotlight | Darcy Hines Designs

Creating a Christmas market takes a lot of work. There are donations to gather, plans to make with the City and entertainment acts to schedule. Before that can be done, it’s important to have a way to distinguish our event from the 20 other Christmas markets across the country. That’s where our creative sponsor Darcy Hines Designs is essential. Her work has helped create Christkindlmarket Des Moines’ brand.

Darcy Hines is the owner and graphic designer at Darcy Hines Designs. Her work focuses on typography and a clean style. She enjoys working with clients who allow her to be creative with her design choices. She often works on creating brand standards and stationary.

She began working with Christkindlmarket Des Moines in July 2015. During that time she worked with Des Moines European Heritage Association board to create our logo and brand. Some of her work can be seen on our  Christkindlmarket Des Moines website and Facebook page.

According to Darcy, she was motivated  to get involved by the unique nature of our event.

“I love the idea of bringing such a festive and creative event to Des Moines in the months where people are normally bundled up in their houses. I think it’s a great opportunity to bring people out together as families, offer them a chance to experience a culture they normally wouldn’t be able to, and breathe some light into those cold winter months with hot cider and hand-made Christmas gifts.”

As for inspiration, she looks to Christmas markets from across the world. Though she hasn’t yet attended a Christmas market, this research has helped her understand why people love them.

Thank you for your work, Darcy!

CDM Logo

 

ByAnna Van Waardhuizen

Fundraising: Helping with Happy Hour

Anna VanWaardhuizen is an Illinois native living in Des Moines while attending Drake University. She is a junior studying public relations and leadership. In addition to working as an intern with the Des Moines European Heritage Association, she works on campus and serves as president of Drake’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. 

Happy hour might seem like an opportunity for getting a great deal, but they can be much more than that. For instance, our first fundraising event for Christkindlmarket Des Moines will be a happy hour event at Royal Mile in Downtown Des Moines. On February 25, we will meet from 4 to 7 p.m. to talk about our mission as Des Moines European Heritage Association, share our travel experiences and have an chance to grab a drink. Ten percent of sales during that time will go to DMEHA to help produce Christkindlmarket Des Moines in December.

Our group will meet in The Red Monk, located on the second floor of The Royal Mile. As the area’s only Belgian bar, it’s the perfect setting for our event. The decor is beautiful and the selection of beers is unmatched in the area. Not only do they serve Belgian style beers and imports, they have 90 different varieties. Second, there will be great deals for our attendees. Happy hour specials are available until 6 p.m. and The Royal Mile is offering Hoegaarden, a Belgian wheat beer, on tap for $3. This is an easy and fun way to help raise money for Christkindlmarket Des Moines.

Why is fundraising so important for us? It’s what’s going to power Christkindlmarket Des Moines this December! As a non-profit, we rely on fundraising to help us produce this event. Our team of volunteers has many great plans, but we need funds to make those ideas reality. It’s especially important now as we host the event for the first time.

Fundraising will also help us execute our mission of bringing together people of diverse backgrounds to discuss their heritage, culture and experiences. We want to be Iowa’s go-to resource for European cultural heritage. If you believe in our mission, consider donating. Even better, bring your friends and join us at Royal Mile on Thursday, February 25! (RSVP Here)

 

 

BySuzanne Hull

Market Magic: The Multi-Sensory Experience of a European Christmas

Doug Whittle mugDoug Whittle is president and owner of his consulting and training company, Whittle Consulting Group LLC. He and his wife Dianne live in Urbandale and share a passion for the traditions of European Christmas celebrations. Their extensive European travels have included multiple Christmas seasons in Germany where they have attended hundreds of Christkindlmarkets in villages and cities throughout Germany. Doug brings his business expertise, his German heritage, and his love of all-things Christmas to his work as an active volunteer with the Des Moines European Heritage Association (DMEHA) in bringing the first-ever Christkindlmarket to Des Moines in 4-6, 2016.

Speak with anyone who has ever experienced a European Christmas celebration, and chances are you will notice their eyes light up, their energy level rise…and any attempts to switch them to another topic will become one of your greatest challenges. Regardless of the country where it’s held or the name of the actual multi-day celebration, Christmas in Europe casts a seemingly magical spell over its participants through a multi-sensory experience that you will taste, smell, and feel in the weeks and months that follow the event.

The first thing you will notice about Christmas in Europe is that it’s not limited to one single day on a calendar. Instead, villages, cities, and regions across Europe host outdoor celebrations that can range from a 3-day weekend to a full month, with many of them staying open through noon on Christmas Eve. The “markets” as they are commonly referenced, date all the way back to Middle Ages. They are open-air community events typically held in the town square of small villages and in multiple locations scattered throughout larger cities. In Berlin, for instance, there are as many as 70 outdoor markets taking place simultaneously. There are even markets set up outside the train stations and airports in Germany. Young and old alike gather in celebrations that reflect the unique heritage and customs of a particular country or region through food and drink, dances and processions, costumes, crafts, and ceremonies.

In every market, you will find yourself surround by the towering beauty of centuries-old buildings and cathedrals. The market area literally glows at night from flickering candles and torches and thousands of twinkling lights strung among evergreen-decorated wooden market stalls, yesterday’s version of today’s “pop-up” stores. The stalls are small huts made of wood that are typically arranged in rows. In some villages, these huts are the same ones that were used 100 or more years ago. The number of stalls varies by the size of the market. The Nurnberg market boasts over 200 stalls, including a special market area set aside just for children.

Walk through the rows of huts and be prepared for a multi-sensory experience for the eyes, ears, nose and taste buds! Music from choirs and small brass bands blends with the laughter and chatter of people gathered in jovial conversations. Regional foods are freshly prepared while you inhale the tantalizing aromas of cheese-covered noodles, savory meats roasted over open fires, cinnamon and sugar-coated nuts, picture-perfect desserts and candies dipped in kettles of dark, melted chocolate, freshly-baked pastries and breads, and hot, simmering alcohol-laced drinks, the most famous of which is the German mulled wine called Gluwhein.

Scattered among the food and beverage huts are vendors displaying and selling a vast array of items that can range from candles and soaps, to delicate lace and hand blown glass, to wood and metal objects of art. Most items are hand-crafted and reflect the unique heritage of that geographic region. It is not unusual to meet a vendor who represents several generations of a family-generated craft.

You will purchase beautiful hand-knit caps, mittens, scarves, and sweaters to keep you warm in the crisp December air as you walk through the rows of stalls. In one stall, you will see hundreds of delicate, glittering hand-blown glass ornaments for your tree. The next stall might be filled with intricate hand-carved wooden arches, pyramids, nutcrackers, smokers, angels, and stars. Another stall will be draped with lighted, multi-dimensional paper stars in intense colors and intricate designs meant for hanging in your entryway or windows. If you’re looking for the children on your Christmas list, you will have a hard time choosing between the stuffed animals, hand-carved wooden puzzles, mechanical wind-up toys, beautiful dolls, delicate to-scale doll house furniture, and colorful illustrated books.

But just so you know, the key rule of shopping at these markets is this: If you like it, buy it! Because some of the markets are so large, you may have difficulty relocating the specific stall when you decide to go back to buy. And for certain, as you move from region to region, you will find entirely different crafts and foods.

In every market, you will find ample opportunities for live entertainment. It might be a local children’s choir that performs on the central stage set up on the steps of a cathedral. It could be a 4-person brass band playing traditional Christmas music. Other towns may feature dancers in traditional costumes. Street entertainers can range from puppet shows to mimes to magic. Most towns have an opening ceremony that heralds the beginning of the market and some villages even have an opening parade that showcases the local customs, costumes, and heritage. By the way, when you start feeling the chill of the crisp December air as you partake in all of these outdoor activities, you can rest and warm up inside the beautiful churches and cathedrals while you listen to vocal and organ concerts.

In the weeks and months ahead, join me as I take you on a word-and-picture tour of just a few of the many German markets my family and I have experienced over the years, including Nurnberg, Regensburg, Seiffen, Dresden, and Leipzig.

Better yet—come join the team of volunteers who will be bringing the first-ever Christkindlmarket to Des Moines on December 2-4, 2016. Whether you have actually experienced a market yourself or if you’re simply intrigued and want to make this a reality for Iowa, we need your talent, your energy, and your participation.

If you’re interested in joining us, message the Christkindlmarket Des Moines Facebook Page or send Suzanne Hull an email (christkindlmarketdsm@gmail.com).

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

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ByBecca Baldwin

5 Reasons Getting Outside Can Cure the Wintertime Blues

My name is Becca Baldwin. I’m a old graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. I graduated with a double major of Global Marketing and Organizational Leadership Management. After graduation, I continued my studies at the ESC Rennes School of Business in Rennes, France. I completed a one-year master’s program in International Business while living in France from August 2014 to May 2015. While in France I was able to travel and experience a bit of European culture. I currently live in Des Moines and work at Principal Financial Group. My hobbies include traveling, being with friends & family, exercising, and volunteering. I decided to get involved with the Des Moines European Heritage Association and Christkindlmarket Des Moines planning because I am very much interested in European culture. I want to experience as much as I can of what the world has to offer, and plan on accomplishing this by being involved in my community and traveling as much as possible!

It’s no secret winters are cold here in Iowa. But that doesn’t mean we should spend three full months cooped up inside! There are many activities that can be done in outside in the winter to cure those Wintertime Blues. Here are my top five reasons to get outside:

  1. Vitamin D. Studies have shown the main cause of the wintertime blues is the lack of proper sunlight. What better way to boost your mood than to get outside and feel the crisp air and sun on your face? Getting outside in the sunlight can be an instant fix to a seasonally caused bad mood!
  2. Seeing your surroundings in a whole new light. Another great reason to get outside is to see how the Earth transforms in the winter. I took the below picture while home for Christmas this past December. When there are leaves on the trees and grass on the ground, it’s easy to see how beautiful nature can be, but I was struck by the beauty of the leafless trees covered in a layer of snow. Not everyone gets to experience true beauty first-hand!
  3. Becca Baldwin Woods PhotoYou can act like a kid again. Nothing brings back some of my favorite childhood memories like a good snowball fight or a sledding marathon. Some of the best times spent growing up in Iowa were spent flying down a hill on a saucer sled or getting in an intense snowball fight with your friends. Being able to do some of these cherished winter activities only brings a smile to my face and an appreciation for Iowa winters!
  4. For a great workout. Because your body has to work harder to warm itself in the cold winter months, physical activity done in the cold can burn more calories than the warmer seasons of the year. Your heart gets a better workout too! Working out in the winter means you’re in better shape for spring, and beach season!
  5. Last but not least – Christmas Markets! As Iowans, we sure do love our Farmer’s Markets in the summer. What could be better than a European-style Christmas Market in the winter?! For those of you who haven’t had the chance to experience a Christmas Market firsthand, think: hand-craft goods, European sweets and desserts, mulled wine, seasonal activities, and full holiday spirit. Christmas Markets give us a chance to get out, get active, and enjoy a special occasion with friends and family during the winter, and definitely give us a boost to fight those wintertime blues.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more information and mark your calendar’s for Christkindlmarket Des Moines coming to you December 2016!

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

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BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Anna VanWaardhuizen

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an Illinois native living in Des Moines while attending Drake University. I’m a junior studying public relations with a concentration in leadership development. I also work on campus and serve as president for our chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. In my free time, I love showing off Des Moines to visiting family and friends, reading mystery novels and binge-watching as many Netflix episodes as I can fit in one night.

Anna VanWaardhuizen headshot

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

I was looking for a way to get more experience in the various aspects of public relations and marketing. I found the Des Moines European Heritage Association through my school and thought it would be a great fit. Now I get to learn more about European culture, event planning and marketing. Even better, I get to help produce an event that showcases just how special Des Moines is.

Why should people become involved?

There are practically endless reasons to get involved. First, the group planning the Christkindlmarket Des Moines has a contagious excitement. The passion of our volunteers shows how important this event will be when it comes to Des Moines. Second, what better way to bring a little more culture to our city? Lastly, there are so many ways to get involved. There’s an opportunity for everyone, from donating, sponsoring, planning or even just attending.

 

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Theresa Edman

Tell us about yourself.

I moved to Des Moines 3 years ago after living most of my life in Minnesota. I currently work as a paralegal and enjoy attending live music events with my boyfriend and exploring all the hidden gems Des Moines has to offer.

Why are you in Christkindlmarket?

I wanted to find a way to get involved in my new community, and when I found out about Christkindlmarket Des Moines, I knew I had found the right project for me! It combines my love of community service, my strong interest in European language and culture, and the excitement of being a part of something that is sure to become a much-loved mainstay of this community!

Why should people become involved?

You should get involved if you want to contribute to the growing, vibrant community of Des Moines by working on the first ever Christkindlmarket in the city. If you are interested in European culture, either through your own ancestry or through travel experience, and want to both learn more about it and share that interest with the community, I encourage you to get involved. We’d love to have you on board!

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Carissa Stout

Tell us about yourself.

I am a musician and teacher who loves to travel. I taught band and general music in Berlin, Germany, for four years prior to moving to Des Moines in 2014. I have enjoyed discovering all that Des Moines has to offer!

Carissa - cropped

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

While living in Germany, I found the Christmas markets to be the most magical thing about the long, dark winters there. The festive atmosphere of a Christmas market puts me much more in the Christmas spirit than an overcrowded shopping mall around the holidays. I am excited to help bring some an amazing tradition to Des Moines!

Why should people become involved?

You should get involved if you want to try something new and help bring an exciting, cultural event to Des Moines!

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Gintare “G” Kelley

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Lithuania and now I live in Clive, Iowa, with my husband and our two boys. 

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

With each year passing I appreciate my European roots more and more.  I got involved with Christkidlmarket Des Moines because I loved the idea of authentic European traditions getting carried out in Iowa. For me it was a way to learn about organizing an event, getting involved in our community, and meeting some amazing like-minded people along the way!

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Why should people become involved?

The real question is why not get involved?!  This has never been done in the Des Moines area! The event has a long tradition of successfully bringing joy to communities all over the world so why not here? Our community deserves it!  Whether you are a sponsor, a vendor or just want to donate and support us that way, it’s a great way to be part of something special, to educate our community and bring some European flavor to our holidays!
As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

ByBecca Baldwin

Christkindlmarket | Rennes, France

My name is Becca Baldwin. I’m a old graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. I graduated with a double major of Global Marketing and Organizational Leadership Management. After graduation, I continued my studies at the ESC Rennes School of Business in Rennes, France. I completed a one-year master’s program in International Business while living in France from August 2014 to May 2015. While in France I was able to travel and experience a bit of European culture. I currently live in Des Moines and work at Principal Financial Group. My hobbies include traveling, being with friends & family, exercising, and volunteering. I decided to get involved with the Des Moines European Heritage Association and Christkindlmarket Des Moines planning because I am very much interested in European culture. I want to experience as much as I can of what the world has to offer, and plan on accomplishing this by being involved in my community and traveling as much as possible!

About a year ago, I had returned to Iowa to visit for the holidays. I had just completed half of my year abroad, living in Rennes, France, for about 4.5 months. This was my first long-term stay in Europe. While I learned a lot about European culture, one of the things I found fascinating was the tradition of Christmas Markets.

I had never heard of them before, but I gathered they were immensely popular in most of Europe and had German origins. What’s a Christmas Market, you may ask? It’s an open-air event where you can browse booths full of hand-crafted goods, seasonal treats, sip on mulled wine, and take in all the beauty.

My first trip to a Christmas Market was in December 2014, in Rennes, France, and I fell in love with the atmosphere. A couple of my friends and I walked around (on more than one occasion) and took in all the beautiful crafts and items for sale. I purchased a bracelet and scarf for a couple friends back home, and we sipped on some spiced wine and ate a few different holiday desserts. It really brought the feeling of Christmas back to me, while I was missing my friends and family back home. The booths were lined up, decorated in lights, garland, and different seasonal decorations. There were wooden cut-out boards for children to put their heads in and pretend they were Santa & Mrs. Claus; there was a booth with puppies to play with, and numerous booths with homemade pralines, churros, and macaroons for sale. The Christmas Market had a European feel, but it also reminded me of the Christmas spirit at home.

Now that I’m back living in Iowa, I was sad I couldn’t experience another Christmas Market similar to my first magical experience in France. That being said, I am more than excited to partake in helping organize Des Moines’ own Christkindlmarket in 2016! It can be hard to express in words how amazing a Christmas Market experience is, so it looks like everyone will have to find out for themselves next December. For now, I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of the market in Rennes, France, and hope everyone is excited for next year!

Becca

Becca2

Becca3

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

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