BETHLEHEM, PA—One of the region’s top holiday attractions, Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, is adding to its holiday experience this year thanks to the support of Univest Bank and Trust Co., the new presenting sponsor of the event. Named one of the top holiday markets by media like Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, Christkindlmarkt kicks off its 26th year when it begins its six-weekend run at SteelStacks Nov. 16.
Established by the nonprofit ArtsQuest is 1993, Christkindlmarkt is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience that brings the spirit of Bethlehem, the Christmas City, alive with the season. The event features aisles of handmade works by more than 125 of the nation’s finest artisans, live Christmas music, an authentic German St. Nicholas and European favorites like wursts and strudel. For families, there are also ice carving demonstrations, where children can watch talented sculptors using picks, chainsaws and blowtorches to create works of art from ice, and glassblowing sessions, where ages 6 and older can work hand-in-hand with artists to blow their own glass ornaments and candy canes.
Among the enhancements this year are holiday-inspired creative family arts workshops, additional artisans/vendors on several weekends and new holiday performances, such as The Swing Time Dolls performing their “Dolled Up Christmas” show in vintage holiday-inspired costumes on Nov. 20 and Dec. 14. Over the past quarter-century, more than 1.2 million people have been drawn to Bethlehem and the region thanks to the annual holiday event, including a record 88,923 visitors at Christkindlmarkt last year.
“We’re proud to sponsor the region’s premier holiday market in an effort to bring people of all generations together during the holiday season,” says Annette D. Szygiel, executive vice president and chief experience officer at Univest Corporation. “Through our partnership with Christkindlmarkt and ArtsQuest, we are continuing to carry out our mission of supporting the arts, culture and education in our local communities.”
Headquartered in Souderton, Univest Bank and Trust was founded in 1876 and has been part of the Lehigh Valley community for more than a decade, with offices on Main Street in Bethlehem, Broadway in South Whitehall Township and Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie Township. As part of its commitment to giving back to the communities it serves, Univest supports a variety of community, financial literacy and family-focused programs and events. It also provides “Connecting with the Community,” a corporate volunteer program that helps area nonprofits advance their missions and programs.
“On Nov. 15, we recognize National Philanthropy Day, a day honoring the many individuals, foundations and businesses that enrich our communities through their support, in-kind contributions and volunteerism,” says ArtsQuest Sr. Director of Business Development Nicole Dotta. “So, it’s fitting that Christkindlmarkt kicks off its 26th year Nov. 16 with Univest as our primary partner.
“Over the past two years, Univest has supported Christkindlmarkt and our community wholeheartedly, not only through their financial contributions, but also by volunteering several days at our holiday market. As a nonprofit, the support of ArtsQuest’s corporate partners and volunteers is the only way we can present all of our holiday programming for our region, and Univest plays a lead role in making it all possible.”
Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem dates are Nov. 16-18 and 23-25; Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Dec. 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23. Hours are Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission is $10 for ages 14 and older, $6 for ages 6-12 and FREE for ages 5 and under. For more information, visit www.christmascity.org/christkindlmarkt.