The Christkindlesmarkt is a German holiday tradition — a Christmas street market.
Saturday, no one needed to take the roughly 17 hour flight between Germany and Junction City to experience a small taste of this tradition for themselves.
The annual event has migrated to Fort Riley in the form of the annual Christkindl Market, which took place Saturday.
Handmade crafts and traditional German foods such as bratwurst were all available during the market, which is held by Fort Riley's MWR.
Taylor Ferrarin said the German tradition came to Fort Riley courtesy of the Big Red One’s long history with Germany, from World War I until today.
“We have a lot of soldiers that get to spend some time over in Germany,” she said. “We kind of want to give them maybe a little reminder of how it was when they were in Germany."
Ferrarin said she was confident in the size of the crowd around noon Saturday.
“It’s starting to pick up,” she said. “It was a little slow this morning. But we’re pretty excited about the turnout we’ve had so far."
Ferrarin said traffic through the market, which was held indoors this year, was slower than it had been in past years.
Thurman Young of Junction City was among the vendors selling handcrafted items at the market.
He had a variety of handmade wooden boxes for sale at the event.
Young uses native wood he finds in the area to make his crafts.
These woods include cedar, walnut, and pine. Young said he took his hobby up about a year ago.
“I like wood working,” he said. “I got to looking at a Youtube video of these types of things and I thought ‘man, I think I can do that.’”
Young works out of his basement.
“I’m very small time,” he said.
It was Young’s first time at the Christkindl Market which he tried on a suggestion from his daughter, he said. He said he hadn’t made many sales, but that people seemed interested.
“We’ve had people come up and express real positive comments about it,” Young said.
Hank Ruckert, a crafter who came from the Wamego area, has been attending the Christkindl Market every year for about seven years, selling hand painted gourds.
A retiree who makes his crafts out in a barn on his property, Ruckert has been painting gourds for the past 25 years. Back then, he recalls, he had an abundance of the gourds growing on his land. Ruckert had been planning to make a bonfire of them when, looking more closely, he saw the shape of something he still has in his repertoire today — a penguin.
At the market Saturday, he had a table lined with penguins similar to the ones he made more than two decades ago. They have, he said, become a bestseller.
“I love this place and the business is fair,” he said of the Christkindl Market. “I just like to come here.”