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Local News

5 Christmas Markets to Check Out in Wisconsin

Credit: iStock

Reinette LeJeune

Thanksgiving is a month away which means Christmas is just around the corner – and if you are a fan of Christmas markets as much as I am, you’ll be flush with all the events Wisconsin has to offer! Below are five (of MANY) that should quench your holiday thirsts for trinkets, bobbles, and foods.

Sparta Kriskindlmarkt

The Kriskindlmarkt in the small town of Sparta is a traditional European-style Christmas market in Wisconsin with a great atmosphere. It is chalk full of German food and spirits, and even more local vendors with boutique offerings to browse and purchase. A standout feature of this market is the vast array of handmade gifts that can be found here, interspersed with a range of festive activities that all coincide with the market – like the Santa Scamper, a holiday parade, and even a lighting ceremony in Evans-Bosshard Park. The town also prides itself for being a mecca for cyclists, with renowned bike trails like the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, one of the best mountain bike trails in the state. The market will be open on Firdays and Saturdays for four weeks starting on the last Friday of November. 

Oconomowoc Christmas Market

One of the finest German Christmas markets the state has to offer – they aim to bring old-world charm to the forefront of visitors with their family-oriented events for all ages. You can find all the classic staples of a German Christmas market here, with incredible gifts you won’t be able to find in mall outlets or run-of-the-mill stores. The site of the market is divided into different sections – a Christmas Village, a Holiday Party Tent, an Indoor Biergarten, a Heated Santa Tent, a Heated Shopping Tent, and a Gingerbread Decorating Station. The market official opens in late November and is not to be missed by those nearby. 

Blessed Sacrament Christmas Market

Located in Madison for only 3 days at the end of November, this is a great option for those hoping to balance the experience with expeditions around the capital. The market here has been running for 100 years now, so history is very much ingrained in its planning. Like most Christmas markets, this one has a wonderful range of crafts for sale by local vendors. You’ll find jams, soaps, home-baked goodies, baskets, candy, hand-painted silk scarves, fabric fairies, botanically dyed fiber art, and fresh greenery (including Christmas wreaths). It also boasts a magnificent amount of home-cooked, organic food for all the holiday cravings you could have. And parents, there’s even a free childcare service available. If you’re looking to get into the right holiday spirits (pun intended), Madison offers a renowned brewing industry with an even more popular selection of craft beers. 

Old World Christmas Market

Located in Elkhart Lake during the early weeks of December, this market is another exuding that old-world charm. Voted number 1 best holiday market in the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards of 2018, this market boasts a high enjoyment rating for the state. This market has an international flavor and is one of the best craft fairs Wisconsin has to offer. That international flavor will introduce you to Czech blown-glass ornaments, Turkish pashmina scarves and shawls, Estonia woolens, Russian nesting dolls, plus German hand-carved smokers and nutcrackers. And if you’re willing to do a light trip – check out nearby Door County in the winter for a magical experience of seasonal beauty. 

Tinsel Trail

Located in Steven’s Point in Late November for 1 day only, the Tinsel Trail is one of the longest-running Christmas markets in Wisconsin. Hosted by the Steven’s Point Junior Women’s Club, this event has been going for over 50 years now. The club, a group of dynamic women dedicated to community involvement and enhancement, does truly magnificent work  promoting education, preserving natural resources, helping the elderly and disabled, and establishing a daycare center for mentally challenged children and supporting projects for victims of domestic abuse. With admission at only $3, with all profits going towards the club, you’ll find what you’re looking for (and even things you weren’t looking for) amongst the over 250 vendors that will be present. Good people, good causes, good times for all!