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Brookfield tree lighting takes a German twist

Holiday Market inspired by trip to sister city

Nov. 28, 2012

The city of Brookfield will host its first German Holiday Market in the Civic Plaza on Saturday.

The event was planned by former Brookfield mayor Kate Bloomberg and the Brookfield Sister Cities Committee.

The idea evolved after the committee members visited Brookfield's sister city, Seligenstadt, Germany, this year.

"The ladies had taken this trip, and they were entranced and enjoyed visiting the German markets," Bloomberg said. "So we decided to introduce a German Holiday Market in Brookfield."

Bloomberg sat down with Parks and Recreation Director Bill Kolstad, who suggested combining the tree-lighting with the holiday market.

The Sister Cities Committee then reached out to United Donauschwaben of Milwaukee, the largest German ethnic group in the state, to make the event as close to German tradition as possible. They, in turn, reached out to Brookfield Farmers Market vendors to set up booths at the event.

"At the German Holiday Markets, there are individual kiosks for each merchant. So there will be holiday cookies, German sausage, mulled cider and crafts for sale in a heated tent," Bloomberg said.

In addition to the annual tree lighting at 4:45 p.m., there will be free hay rides for kids, a raffle, a jazz performance by students from Brookfield East and Brookfield Central high schools and a puppet show hosted by the library.

"It is just filled with all kinds of fun events," Bloomberg said. "The tent for the vendors will be in the center of the plaza and guests can walk around and enjoy both the vendors and entertainment."

The market also will feature a non-alcoholic version of the traditional German Christmas wine.

Children will have the chance to write letters to Santa before his arrival at City Hall at 4:30 p.m.

Thorsten Bonifer, chairman of the Seligenstadt Sister Cities Committee, is expected to fly in from Germany for the event.

Authentic memorabilia from Germany will be sold at the market.

"Seligenstadt sent us a cart full of stuff that's currently being held by customs; we hope they release it in time," Bloomberg said.

A local artist designed a cup and ornament with a Germany and Brookfield-themed logo.

"The mug and Christmas ornament have Brookfield and Seligenstadt on them, and people can purchase them in celebration of the event," Bloomberg said.

"I think we've managed to combine two delightful events for people to enjoy," Bloomberg said. "We're hoping to make this a new annual tradition in the city."

If You Go

WHAT:German Holiday Market

WHERE: Brookfield Civic Plaza, 2000 N. Calhoun Road

WHEN:3 to 7 p.m. Saturday

COST:Admission is free.

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