Vendors notice lots of change in Christkindlmarkt's 20 years

Vendors notice lots of change at Christkindlmarkt

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem's Christkindlmarkt turns 20 this year.

Among the 125-plus vendors who set up shop inside the holiday craft market are some who have been there from the start.

The sounds of people making and selling items fill the air at Christkindlmarkt.

LaFona Forge / Steel Wool owner Tom Turtzo remembers the first day he set up shop 20 years ago.

"I remember the first year we were standing underneath the arch of the bridge and we had an ice storm and we could have been ice skating," said Turtzo. "There was a constant drip on my head."

People says the market has grown a lot from its days on the northside right off Main Street.

"I miss walking out of the door seeing the lights and seeing the downtown area," said Pat DeVries, owner of Pat DeVries wheat weaving.

All say the move to the ArtsQuest SteelStacks campus two years ago has proved to be good for business.

"Oh I thought this will never work, it will never work, and it did," said Mary Turtzo. "I like it better."

"I think we got a lot of new people," added CeCe Tucker, owner of CeCe Tucker Fine Arts. "So I did like that. Parking was a little easier than the old place."

During the weekend there are 130 booths at Christkindlmarkt. Eight-five of the people hand make their own items and those people say that's the way the market started and it's the way the market should be.

"I'm a purist," said DeVries. "I really like things to be handmade and we can't compete price wise with things that are imported it's impossible. We just can't go it."

Merchants say it costs an average $400.00 to rent a single booth at Christkindlmarkt.

Each say they do make enough to cover their expenses and they say they'll keep coming back because the Christkindlmarkt gets better every year.

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