Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt group member Kurt
Reiss jumps over member Jason Gehrke during a recent
performance. The group will be at the Oconomowoc
German Christmas Market this weekend. The ladies in
the back from left to right are Amy Noble, Liesel
Reiss, Rachel Baka and Julie Mae Engelmann.
OCONOMOWOC - After your belly is full
from a Thanksgiving meal, you and your family will need
to get into crunch mode.
With fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and
Christmas people will find shopping, entertainment and more
delicious, but this time German, food this weekend at the second
annual German Christmas Market of Oconomowoc.
“Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect date for an
event like ours,” GCM President Craig Pruscha said. “People are home
for the holidays and often confined in a house with extended family.
Our event offers visitors a welcome reprieve from the restlessness
and the chance to celebrate community. There is something for
everyone here and there is no entry fee.
“Come and see why we are being called the best
Christmas Market in Wisconsin. Prost!”
Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt members Rachel Baka,
left, and Johann Hinck, right, perform “Spazier
The market runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
today and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the
Village Green. New this year will be a fire pit, a
holiday party tent and a live big screen video feed to
the Christmas Market in Dietzenbach, Germany. The market
is supposed to replicate a Christkindl market,
celebrated for centuries in Europe.
The GCM will host German-styled wooden huts and
tents, filled with 45 vendors including - new this year - owner of
Glassware to Gourds Patti Stiles. Stiles works out of her house in
Merton and specializes in growing, harvesting and crafting her own
gourds, which she turns into baskets, bowls and birdhouses. She also
uses glassware for utensils or small salad bowls.
“I am so excited for the market, I can’t wait,”
She has ornaments and jewelry that range from $5 to
$10 with some of her largest basket gourds, which can take up to 40
hours of work, at about $90.
Music and dancing
New this year is a circus-style tent that will house
the main music stage with live entertainment, including German and
polka-style bands as well as the beer and wine vendors.
George Radtke is club president and music director of
the Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt, a group of musicians and dancers
organized in 1977 to preserve the folk culture by performing songs
and dances from the Pomeranian regions.
Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt is seen performing at
Oshkosh Oktoberfest. The group will be performing at
the Oconomowoc German Christmas Market this weekend
“We will be at the German Christmas
Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday,” Radtke said.
“We have a singing group we’ve formed and we have
started our own little band with vocals and instruments
because we always play live music for the dancers.”
The group will play traditional folk music,
Oktoberfest-style music and Christmas carols.
“We do polkas and waltzes,” he said about the mixture
of Scandinavian and German influences. “We like to show the depth of
beyond some of the typical stereotypes that people perceive to be
Don't forget the
eats - and Mr. Claus
A German Christmas Market wouldn’t be official
without German cuisine, being provided by Weissgerber Restaurants
and - also new this year - Schwefel’s Restaurant.
A piece of Black Forest cake that will be prepared
and served by staff from Schwefel’s Restaurant
during the Oconomowoc German Christmas Market this
Dan Schwefel, who co-owns the business
with his wife, Lori, said that they will be serving
spanferkel roast pig sandwiches, liver dumpling soup and
black forest and German chocolate cakes.
“It was good to see the history of the others from
last year and we are very much looking forward to now being down
here,” Schwefel said.
The Old German Beer Hall and Hofbrau of Milwaukee
will be back with the exclusive beer and gluhwein, or hot mulled
There will be a photo opportunity with Santa, who
will be there from noon to 5 p.m. each day with people donating what
they think is fair, with donations going to GCM. There will also be
a hot drinks tent with proceeds going to various local nonprofit
For more information or to watch videos about the
market, go to
Brookfield German Holiday Market
There will be a Brookfield German Holiday Market on Dec. 7 with a
wide range of music and activities throughout the day from 2 p.m. to
In the Civic Plaza
on the main stage, there will be performances by the Milwaukee
Liederkranz, a German cultural choir, the Austrian Express Band and
the Brookfield City Chorus. The tree lighting will be from 4:50 p.m.
to 5:05 p.m. featuring the Donauschwaben Singers.
featured inside City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road, will be writing
letters to Santa, story time, crafts for kids and visiting with
Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Elmbrook Memorial campus and BMO Harris Bank are the title sponsors
for the event.
-Amber Gramza, Freeman Staff