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Swiss-style market features crafts, food

Christkindlmarkt in Monroe steeped in European holiday tradition

MONROE, Wis. – Shoppers don't have to cross the ocean to have a European experience during the holiday season.

The Christkindlmarkt at Turner Hall has 2 days of shopping and eating right after Thanksgiving Day. This market. on Nov. 23-24, follows a tradition started in Germany back in 1434.

Today's travelers don't need a time machine to step into another world. Turner Hall is a chalet-styled building that evokes the heritage of Switzerland.

More than 30 crafters will be selling gift items. Among those are things you don't find just down the street: Scherenschnitte (scissor cuttings), Holzschnitte (wood carvings) and Kerbschnitte (wood chip-carving), for example.

More familiar goods to be sold are soap, floral arrangements, jewelry, lotions, fabric arts, Christmas decor, pottery and rag rugs.

Hungry shoppers can head for the cafe, which is in European style. Swiss baked goods, hot spiced wine and soups will be sold. Lunch and dinner also will be available in the Ratskeller Restaurant, which is in the lower level of the building. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner begins at 4:30 p.m.

Other features of the market include the arrival of Samichlaus, the Swiss Santa, and his pal, Schmutzli. A restored horse sleigh will be there for photo opportunities.

An additional chance to shop will be offered Saturday at the Monroe Middle School, which is across the street from Turner Hall. The Green County Relay for Life will present Shop for a Cure with home party products for sale.

For those unable to make it to the market, future events are Alpine carol singing and candle tree lighting at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the hall. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

St. John's United Church of Christ, 1724 N. 14th St., will be the scene at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 of Deutscher Weihnachtsgottesdienst, the German Christmas Communion Service. This is conducted in German with English translations handy. Donations are welcome here, too.

And at the end of the year, there's Old Year's Night Celebration from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31 at the grand hall. The cost is $35 in advance through Dec. 30 or $40 at the door. Tables need to be reserved. Tickets are available in the Ratskeller.

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