DAVENPORT — Honoring the city's German heritage, the second annual Quad-Cities Christkindlmarkt will be held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, at the Freight House, 421 W. River Drive.
A highlight of the event will be the return of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train at 9 p.m. Saturday.
“The Christkindlmarkt is a Christmas market that's traditional in Germany and Bavaria,” said Lorrie Beaman, executive director of the Freight House Farmers Market, at a Wednesday media briefing. “There will be lots of artists and crafts and food, and wonderful entertainment from far and wide.”
Translated as “Christ child market,” the Christkindlmarkt will include German music, European foods, international beers, gluhwein (mulled or spiced wine), as well as artist demonstrations and performances. It will take place in a heated tent.
“We're very excited to partner with Front Street Brewery on two custom brews this year they will be tapping at Christkindlmarkt,” Beaman said of the Davenport-based brew pub that has a tap room at the Freight House. The holiday beers will be a Krampus stout and a Christkind golden ale.
“I'd like to say how proud we are to be able to partner with Churches United, and the CP Holiday Train,” Beaman said.
Unlike previous visits of the holiday train, which helps collect food and raise funds for Churches United of the Quad City Area, this year's will take place at night.
“It will be a spectacular lighting display, along with live music,” said Melvin Grimes, executive director of Churches United. “We want to make sure you get here early so you can get into the holiday spirit.” The train will depart at 9:45 p.m.
The Holiday Train is made up of 14 brightly decorated rail cars, including a modified boxcar that gets turned into a traveling stage for performers. Each car is decorated with hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights.
The Holiday Train, which travels across North America, has raised more than $15.8 million in Canadian dollars, and collected 4.5 million pounds of food since its inaugural journey in 1999, according to cpr.ca/holiday-train/canada.
“Finally, after the last two or three times, we get to see it all lit up,” Grimes said of the train, which last year was here during the day.
“This works out great, where the lights will really be a factor,” Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said. “We're really excited to have them here.”
“It's going to be a great event. Last year, it was beyond our expectations,” he said. “We look forward to another great one this year as well.”
Last year, the Christkindlmarkt and Holiday Train stop attracted between 10,000 and 12,000 people, said Steve Ahrens, executive officer of the Riverfront Improvement Commission.
Churches United, which operates 24 food pantries in the area, asks that attendees bring nonperishable, nonexpired food items to donate. Churches United also encourages people to drop off monetary donations at the Freight House Farmers Market through Dec. 8. Last year, 50,000 pounds of food and $8,000 in donations were collected during the holidays.
“In enjoying the holiday spirit, let us also be mindful of those who may not have enough to just make it on a daily meal,” Grimes said.
The weekend will kick off with a St. Nicholas Dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Cost is $45 per person. Attendees will get a family-style meal, collectible mug, drink tickets, live entertainment and sneak-peek merchant shopping. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.
Freight House vendors and businesses also will be open, including Front Street, Antonella's Pizzeria II, The Diner and Taste of Ethiopia. The indoor market with 24 vendors will be open, and some of the normal outdoor vendors will be part of the holiday event, Beaman said.
“You've got vendors inside that will be ensuring they'll be in the spirit, and selling items and creating crafts that are consistent with that particular weekend, with that theme,” Ahrens said.
“The Freight House Farmers Market is such a great platform for individuals throughout the year,” Klipsch said.
For more information, visit facebook.com/christkindlmarktqc.