'Incredibly successful:' Organizers hope to expand Milwaukee's Christkindlmarket in 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Christkindlmarket closes for the season on Monday, Dec. 31, but after an "incredibly successful" first year, organizers are looking forward to bringing it back in 2019.

The Christkindlmarket opened at the new Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee on Nov. 17 -- about three months after the Fiserv Forum opened to the public.

"It has been great," said Kate Bleeker, Christkindlmarket Milwaukee. "We could not have asked for a better reception and a better welcome from the Milwaukee community."

On Sunday, Dec. 30, as vendors prepared to shut down for the season, they and visitors reflected on the market's first year in Milwaukee. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved that it's not only a German tradition, but a Chicago institution. Until 2018, people from Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin had to head south to take part in this holiday tradition. In 2016 and 2017, Christkindlmarket opened at Naper Settlement and Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville in the Chicago area -- and in 2018, the market came to Milwaukee.

"I was specifically looking for a smoker, and we found one I really like. It's a little bit smaller than I expected, but it's a lot of fun. I'd like to see it bigger -- more places to visit, more food," said Heather Latona, born in Germany.

Organizers said they were already preparing for 2019.

Heather Latona

"We came here this year with the plan of making this a longstanding tradition here in Milwaukee," said Bleeker.

If 2018's market was just to test the waters, it's safe to say visitors can expect a lot more excitement in 2019.

"For a first-year market, this has been incredibly successful -- and we're excited to see how it grows in the future," said Bleeker. "We will definitely try and expand the market next year."

The Christkindlmarket closes on Monday, Dec. 31 at 4 p.m.

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