Goodbye to Christkindlmarket Naperville

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Christkindlmarket Naperville will not be returning to Naper Settlement this year. The Naperville Heritage Society announced the popular German holiday market has ended its three-year run.

Christkindlmarket was first brought to town in 2016 as an outpost of the popular Chicago market, run by German American Events. Each year, it brought from 200,000 to nearly 250,000 visitors to Naper Settlement to take in the food, drinks, and specialty gifts.

Reason For Leaving is Unclear

Mayor Steve Chirico shared his thoughts on why the market isn’t returning – possibly that the event did not get its full ask for SECA funding.

“I don’t know what the reason was. I know there was some frustration when we would not fully fund their request. And I get that, but there was also some frustration on the SECA board side and the city council side as well, wondering why an event that was so successful would have to come to us for funding,” he said.

A representative from German American events said this was simply part of the market’s evolution. They plan to explore other communities, and will be announcing a new location later this year.

And CEO Maren Biester Priebe shared in a press release, “we have enjoyed three wonderful years celebrating our Christkindlmarket with the Naperville community. We are thankful for the support of our visitors, the Naperville heritage society, and the city of Naperville,”

President and CEO of Naper Settlement, Rena Tamayo-Calabrese added, “it was a great event, and we take this moment to thank all our visitors for coming to celebrate the holidays with us.”

What’s Next?

Naper Settlement is currently in conversation to develop a new holiday experience at their site this winter.

“They’re pretty creative,” Chirico said. “I would be really surprised if they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to utilize that space and the festival of lights that’s already there. The fact that they’ve got an event that people are used to coming to that will, I’m sure, continue to be a destination for them.”

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc and Casey Krajewski report.