CONTRIBUTED BY KARI MARTINDALE
Note: This article was originally published in 2014, but has been updated for the 2015 season. Enjoy!
Less than an hour from Kaiserslautern, in the picturesque hills of Saarland, the town of Sankt Wendel hosts what I found to be a surprisingly robust and entertaining little medieval Christmas Market (St. Wendeler Weihnachtsmarkt & Mittelaltermarkt). They really go all out in decorations: not only do they have a gorgeous pyramid in town that features small dioramas in the base, but kiosks of nativity dioramas line one of the streets. Beautiful wooden sculptures were scattered throughout town.
When I first learned of the market, what attracted me was their tubing slide. They truck in snow from the Alps for the kids to tube down. We happened to go on an unseasonably warm day, so the snow was melting, but there was still enough for a good, fast whoosh.
My favorite part of the market, though, was the live reenactment of the nativity. The Three Wise Men rode camels through the streets and Joseph led Mary around on mule. It was very well done. Little ones could pet the animals when they weren’t being used for the nativity, as well as right after the show.
A fire show was also put on. Mythical creatures led a gnarly carriage through the streets en route to their show. I also noticed puppet shows for the kids. Santa is said to make an appearance, as well, but we missed that.
Like most medieval markets, there were live demonstrations of making the handicrafts that vendors were selling, e.g. ironworks. There were also activities such as shooting bow and arrow. In all, they married the Christmas Market and medieval markets quite well. This is one market that my child and I both remember fondly.
Be sure you don’t miss the Elf Village (Zwergenwald)! It’s located on Balduinstraße and is a village of about a dozen five-foot tall houses with a population of tiny elves. Each elf is individually created and has a personality of his or her own. You’ll get caught up in the moving (literally, the elves move) scenes of classrooms, weddings, restaurants, bike races, and even a doctor’s office. Warning: some of the elves are a little *ahem* immature and will having you and your family laughing at their antics!
Tips for Your Trip:
December 5 to 13, 2015
Daily: 1100 – 2000
Christmas caravan with camels and the magi: Daily at 1600
Performance of the Christmas story: Daily at 1700
Large fire show: Daily at 1900
Tavern game: Daily at 1930
Tobogganing on real snow: Monday – Friday starting at 1400; Saturday & Sunday starting at 1100
Carousel: Monday – Friday starting at 1400; Saturday & Sunday starting at 1100
Balduinstraße 4A, 66606
Sankt Wendel, Germany