FORT RILEY — There was something for everyone at the Christkindl market Dec. 3 at Riley’s Conference Center including more than 70 vendors, a hot chocolate bar, wagon rides by the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard, cookie decorating, homemade crafts as well as photos with Santa.
Staff of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted the eighth annual event to offer a variety of unique holiday presents for the Fort Riley community.
Kim Wargo, special events coordinator for DFMWR, said this event used to be a Germanthemed craft market, but has since shifted into a simpler craft market with the goal of stirring up business for vendors.
“It is a family-friendly event to help get people excited about the holidays,” she said. “We have Santa, face painting and sugar cookie decorating, the arts and crafts center is making ornaments this year and we also have a hot cocoa bar.”
Wargo said this is unique to Fort Riley because it is the only craft market on post during the holiday season.
“It’s an event where you can create memories with your family,” she said.
Capt. Elaine Kirish, Medical Activity, came to the craft market after attending one year ago. She said there was a lot of good merchandise so she ventured out in hopes of finding more good deals and saving on shipping prices from commercial vendors like Scentsy.
“There are lots of good gift ideas,” she said.
On top of commercial vendors, she also visited tables of homemade goods and even purchased the final banana bread off one table.
“I think everyone looks forward to having something to do when it get cold, and having all of this in one place is a great way to do that,” she said.
While some of the vendors were from surrounding communities, others call Fort Riley home.
Anna Robinson, wife of 1st Sgt. Kenneth Robinson, 111th Engineer Company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said this market reminded her of the German markets when they lived there. She would visit them frequently for holiday shopping. This year, she had a booth selling her homemade products.
“My hobby has always been knitting,” she said. “I’m from Norway so I try to show off Scandinavian designs and since we are in the military, patriotic designs … This is the first time I am trying this. I’m excited because I’ve always wanted to do it.”
She said they have been stationed at Fort Riley for a couple of years now and she remembers attending the event about two years ago and thinking she could sell items she knits.
“It’s good for those who have their own business, those who do arts and crafts and local crafters,” Robinson said. “It brings people from off-post to us. It’s a time of year where people are shopping for Christmas.”