Southern Indiana hamlet gears up for annual Christkindlmarkt

Ferdinand – The heady aroma of authentic Bavarian specialty foods and an incredible array of Christmas wares, antiques, quality hand-crafted, and primitives await the public at Ferdinand’s Christkindlmarkt, Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21.

Christkindlmarkts began in 14th century Germany and continue today. Artisans display their wares in the local churchyard in the weeks before Christmas. Ferdinand’s Christkindlmarkt is one of the most authentic in the United States. Instead of booths in the churchyard, markt sites are located indoors and outdoors throughout town. Parking is free as is transportation between markt sites.

The six markt locations include the Ferdinand Community Center at 1710 Community Drive, the Tri-County YMCA Antiques Markt at 131 E. 16th Street, Forest Park High School on 14th and Vienna, the Ferdinand American Legion at 425 Main Street, Ferdinand Elementary at 402 E. 8th Street, and the Monastery Event Hall at 840 E. 10th Street.

In addition to regional foods and wines, antiques, florals, folk art, nutcrackers, ornaments, pottery, fabric, and artwork, booths will showcase the works of woodcarvers, basket weavers, chocolatiers, candle makers, bakers, and other artisans as at Christkindlmarkts held in Germany. There are many exciting new vendors ready to show their wares. The festival-styled setting has drawn thousands of guests as part of the Olde World Christmas program promoted by the Ferdinand Tourism and the Dubois County Visitors Center.

Live, free musical entertainment will be offered both days at the Forest Park locations, including the amazing Marionette Theater with half-life-size puppets at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Black Forest Organ grinder will greet guests at the Community Center on Saturday and Sunday as well. 

The live Glockenspiel performances, under the direction of Chuck Bradley, will perform at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday on the stage in the Forest Park High School Auditorium located in the FPHS Lower Commons. These live cuckoo clock animations last approximately ten minutes after the chiming of the hour.

St. Ferdinand Church will host Saturday evening’s entertainment featuring a seasonal concert with musicians from the Evansville Philharmonic at 7:00 p.m. The 2021 holiday program features a wide variety of heartwarming traditional and contemporary Christmas music. The concert is free and open to the public, goodwill donations will be accepted.  And then on Sunday, a mass with German hymns will be held at St. Ferdinand Church at 10:00 a.m. EST.   

Free tours of Monastery Immaculate Conception will be available on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and again on Sunday any time between 12:30 and 3 p.m.

All six markt sites will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST on Sunday.  There is no admission charge.

The Christkindl herself appears on Christkindlmarkt Eve, November 19, at the markt’s annual opening ceremonies.  Bells chime, choirs sing, and children light the way prior to Christkindl’s appearance to herald in the markt. This ceremony, free and open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. on the west hillside of the Monastery Immaculate Conception, the “Castle on the Hill” as the locals call it.  A bake sale hosted by the Sisters of St. Benedict follows inside the crypt. 

Schedule of events

Saturday, November 20

  • Markets Open: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST
  • Black Forest Organ Grinder at the Ferdinand Community Center Markt site, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Free Guided Tours of Monastery Immaculate Conception: Any time between 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 – 3 p.m.
  • Children’s Craft Workshops at Usborne Books Booth outside the FPHS Jr. High Gym site 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Reindeer Reserve Meet ‘n Greet at the Ferdinand Branch Library, 11:00 to noon
  • Live Glockenspiel Performances at the Forest Park High School Auditorium, 11 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m.
  • “Holiday Cabaret on Strings” Marionette Theater: 12:15, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the Forest Park High School Auditorium
  • Visit with Santa Claus German American Bank 1020 Main Street, 1-4 p.m.
  • Lights on the Grotto: On the grounds of the Monastery (after dusk)
  • “Sounds of the Season” Concert: Evansville Philharmonic Ensemble, St. Ferdinand Church 7-8:00 p.m. EST

Sunday, November 21

  • Mass with German Hymns at St. Ferdinand Church, Christ the King Parish, 10:00 a.m.
  • Markets Open: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST
  • Black Forest Organ Grinder at the Ferdinand Community Center Markt site, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Live Glockenspiel Performances at the Forest Park High School Auditorium, 11 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m.
  • Children’s Craft Workshops at Usborne Books Booth outside the FPHS Jr. High Gym site, 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • “Holiday Cabaret on Strings” Marionette Theater: 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Forest Park High School Auditorium
  • Free Tours of Monastery: Any time between 12:30 and 3 p.m.
  • Lights on the Grotto: On the grounds of the Monastery (after dusk)