[caption id="attachment_356000" align="alignright" width="405"] Mark Tompkins and Bucks president Peter Feigin with the festival's queen and Bucks mascot Bango.[/caption]
German holiday festival Christkindlmarket is coming this year outside the new Milwaukee Bucks arena in downtown Milwaukee, the Bucks announced today. Christkindlmarket Milwaukee will be held from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31 on the arena's plaza, located outside the venue's main entrance. It will feature 30 vendors selling holiday-themed decor, European and German food, hot spiced wine, and beer, along with live entertainment and various activities.
"Milwaukee has an amazing arena and it seems only right that the major city in the U.S. with the largest German heritage, and the most German state in America now has its own Christkindlmarket," said Mark Tompkins, president of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest.
A Christkindlmarket had been held in 2014, 2015 and 2016 outside of Best Place in the former Pabst brewery complex. The event venue and taproom had considered bringing back the market this winter, but now those plans will likely change, said Mark Bertieri, marketing coordinator at Best Place.
"I think that's great that (the Bucks) can do this," he said. "I can envision something quite larger than we could do and I can't see us going up against that competition. Can Milwaukee support two Christkindlmarkets? I'm not sure about that."
Bertieri said Best Place may consider getting involved with the festival in other ways, such as hosting festival-related events or occupying a vendor stand at the festival, if it's is possible. The festival at the Bucks arena is headed by Chicago-based nonprofit German American Events LLC, a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. It started the Christkindlmarket in 1996 in Chicago, and in 2016, launched a second location in nearby suburb Naperville. Christkindlmarket Chicago attracts over one million visitors annually.The festival will be free to enter, and will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m, and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, but will be closed on Christmas Day. The $524 million dollar arena project is almost complete. The Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, Aug. 26 will host a grand opening event and block party for the venue, which will be home to the team and to Marquette men's basketball, along with a variety of entertainment events.