Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Bucks Plan German-Style Holiday Market

New plaza to feature Christkindlmarket from November 17th through December 31st.

By - Jul 16th, 2018 05:14 pm
Bango and a guest welcome the press to the Christkindlmarket announcement. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Bango and a guest welcome the press to the Christkindlmarket announcement. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Although it’s July, the Milwaukee Bucks are already thinking about Christmas.

Milwaukeeans will have another outdoor, winter activity to look forward to this holiday season as the Milwaukee Bucks have unveiled plans to host a month-long German-themed holiday market on the plaza in front of the new arena.

“This is all about trying things, this is all about changing behaviors, this is all about new,” said Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin at a press conference announcing the first event for the plaza.

The team will host the event, known as Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, from November 17th through December 31st in partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest.

Plans include transforming the plaza into a holiday village featuring around 30 vendors in traditional candy-cane-striped, wooden huts. Much of the market will be outdoors, while a large, heated tent will anchor the plaza.

Beyond a festive shopping experience, a release for the event says that the market will include: “delicious European and German delicacies, hot spiced wine, fine beer, hand-crafted ornaments, entertainment, family fun and more.”

The market will be based on the christkindlmarket in Nuremberg, Germany as well as the Chicago christkindlmarket. Mark Tomkins, president and CEO of German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, said the Chicago market had an economic impact of $170 million in 2017. Milwaukee’s will be the first such market in the United States outside of the Chicago area.

The pedestrian plaza, built atop the former N. 4th St., is designed to connect the arena with the “Live Block” entertainment center the team is building. That complex, which will include a taproom from Good City Brewing and a bar-restaurant from national “eatertainment” operator Punch Bowl Social, is scheduled to open in January.

The market will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. On Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) the market will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed on Christmas Day (Dec. 25).

With the NBA season set to get underway in late October, first-time attendees at the new arena will get the chance to experience the German market alongside their first trip to the new arena.

When it comes to outdoor markets in Milwaukee, the team should be taking notes from the thousands of people who pack W. Wisconsin Ave. for the NEWaukee Night Market. If the Bucks draw even a quarter of the attendance that NEWaukee does for the night market the holiday market will be a resounding success.


Naming Rights

When asked about a naming rights update for the arena, Feigin offered a quick “no comment.” The $524 million complex, built with $250 million in public support, is still named the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center — with just 41 days remaining before its scheduled to open to the public.

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12 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Plan German-Style Holiday Market”

  1. Jeff says:

    Finally! I never understood why the country’s most German city never had a major, long-running Christkindlmarkt. This is more good news for downtown.

    But: “the first such market in the United States outside of the Chicago area”? There are Christkindlmarkts all over the U.S. Milwaukee is one of the last big cities to start one.

  2. AA says:

    If it’s anything like the one in Chicago (should be better) it will be a fun tradition! Nice job!

  3. michael says:

    In Vienna, there are christmas markets in pretty much every park & church square of consequence. Milwaukee could definitely have them at the arena, red arrow, cathedral square, on top of the o’donnell structure. Just totally own it.

    Also on the topic of german festivals, we need to align the traveling beer gardens so that both are along Lake Michigan at the same time, and have that line up with an Octoberfest week. That way there would be an epic gauntlet of estabrook, hubbard, lake park traveling, bradford tikki, juneau traveling, Summerfest grounds/Octoberfest HQ, and South Shore. And it happens to work out perfectly for a 10 mile road race and/or epic parade.

  4. MidnightSon says:

    With all due respect to Newaukee and its Night Markets, “the Bucks” have nothing to learn from them.

    The Christkindlmarket will be headed by Chicago-based nonprofit German American Events LLC, a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. It’s run the Christkindlmarket in Chicago since 1996, launched a second location in suburban Naperville in 2016, and yet a third market at Wrigley Field’s new Gallagher last winter.

    The organization knows what its doing. Milwaukee is lucky to have this Chicago-based organization coming on up to help out at the site of Fiserv Arena. 😉

  5. MidnightSon says:

    @ Michael – Agreed. In a town like Milwaukee, these markets should be everywhere. (Seriously.) Maybe there could be Christkindlmarkets in the skywalks just in case of…weather. (Facetiously.)

  6. Gary Rebholz says:

    The “why” question about the lack of any long-standing public German market in Milwaukee would bring up a discussion that would not be welcome here.
    The same discussion would relate to why Milwaukee libraries and research collections have never featured a Milwaukee resource featuring our German immigrant families … until one was created in 2007. Part of it made available at in 2008. The only reason that was possible is because it was independent from Milwaukee’s segregated German cultural community.

    “Milwaukee’s German Newspapers; an index of death notices and related items” (1844-1950 and beyond …).

  7. michael says:

    @midnightson. the under 794/adjacent to the public market would be a good quasi-indoor location. Also, I would integrate the mitchell domes/winter farmers market. The main reason for that location is copious free parking for the sizable milwaukeen population that worships free parking like its manna from heaven.

    Then we get 6 collectors 8 oz mugs that can only be obtained at each market – fiserv arena wintermarket HQ, red arrow ice skating rink, cathedral square, o’donnell/caltrava, public market, & mitchell domes.

  8. Dan says:

    I love the idea, but wish they would have allowed local vendors to be part of it. Our business is based in Milwaukee we sell German products and vend at the past markets at the Pabst along with Oconomowoc and West Allis. So far we have been largely shut out of this event. The unintended ripple effect will be other Christkindl markets suffering. Oh well.

  9. DK says:

    So is the one at Pabst redevelopment (just a few blocks away) still happening? That part of town with the historic buildings is the most picturesque setting in Milwaukee for a Christmas market. It makes you feel like you’re in an old German town. I have soured on the Pabst one a bit, though. It’s turned into a drinkfest, with loud (not even German) music. I mostly go to the crafts vendors and stay out of the bar area.
    This location in the Bucks plaza will be sterile and generic compared to the authenticity of the Pabst setting. Reading what Dan says, that local vendors have not been invited to participate, is another strike against it for me.

  10. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    How exciting – a truly German event!

  11. Dan says:

    Oconomowoc is probably the best around Milwaukee. Oh well, we have always wanted an event like this but would have liked the chance to at least apply.

  12. Petra Theurich says:

    Well said MidnightSon! The Chriskindlmarkt should be held around the German American architectural designed Rathaus (City Hall)! Not sure what a Christkindlmarkt has to do with basketball.

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