By Maureen Werther
The Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (LARAC) and the Adirondack Folk School to assemble a new holiday event, the Adirondack Christkindlmarkt.
The event is scheduled to take place in Festival Commons at Charles R. Wood Park Friday through Sunday, Dec. 7-9. It will run 3-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. that Sunday
The event will be free to the public.
The European-style festival translates to mean “Christmas Market,” according to special event and convention sales director Kristen Hanifin.
“The idea initially came from a meeting that the executive director of ADK Folk School, Scott Hayden, and I had over coffee about a year ago,” said Hanifin. She lived in Europe for 12 years and has attended several German Christkindlmarkts. The events had music, food, rides, entertainment, handmade ornaments and crafts from artisans located in the region.
“So, Scott said, ‘Well, I have about 80 artisans at the Folk School. I’d love the opportunity to have their work showcased in a unique event,” she said. “When you put two visionary people together in the same room, it’s amazing what you can come up with.”
She said that these types of festivals have been successful in driving winter tourism throughout Europe for hundreds of years. The planning team wants to turn it into a signature event and holiday tradition that will regularly bring more people and more commerce to Lake George and the surrounding region in the winter months.
Because the events in Europe are such an old tradition, there are permanent structures set in a defined area for vendors to set up and display their wares, as well as to provide music, food and entertainment. The event at Festival Commons will be partially tented—at least initially—with the goal of eventually creating a “vendor village” of its own. Hanifin said there will also be fire pits, holiday lights and decorations, as well as activities for children, including pony rides, horse drawn carriages and more.
The Lake George Chamber plans to do a lot of outreach to local hotels and resorts, enlisting their aid in attracting guests by developing lodging and dining packages.
Hayden’s large list of artisans and makers of authentic Adirondack and Americana products from ADK Folk School will be essential in contributing to the atmosphere of the event, while also expanding people’s awareness of the diversity of products produced in the region.
Hayden is confident the event will be an effective showcase for the school’s extensive list of courses available to people wishing to learn crafts such as woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving, looming and other arts.
“We anticipate that approximately 6,000 people will attend Christkindlmarkt over the course of the entire weekend,” said Hayden.
All three organizations plan to actively promote the event on multiple media platforms as they continue in the planning and implementation phases.
For more information about the event or to learn about participating in it as a vendor, contact Kristen Hanifin, Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, at 518-668-5755.