Krist Kindl Markt draws thousands to city park
By PAMELA GRANT
Families flocked to Copperas Cove City Park this weekend to celebrate, enjoy good food, have festive fun with a hint of German tradition, and purchase some unique Christmas gifts.
This year’s 27th annual Krist Kindl Markt kicked off Thursday with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. and closed Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. This year’s event featured free admission and no parking fees.
Each night offered a variety of fun, free events for the community to enjoy with live performances, including a German performer, on the stage throughout the event. Thursday featured the tree lighting ceremony and a hot cocoa competition. Friday featured a snowman can toss, polar pins, and a stein holding contest. Saturday featured the Krist Kindl Pageant, tree tire toss, cookie decorating, Slimetown, the Christmas parade, Santa’s sack race, and a penguin challenge. Sunday featured German bingo with traditional German prizes at the Civic Center.
“Just all in all, it’s a really great weekend,” said Silvia Spires, Chamber of Commerce President. “It just feels good to see this many people out and about.”
Spires said that this year’s Krist Kindl Markt featured 12 food vendors and over 65 vendor booths and as a special treat, one booth sold Gluhwein, a German spice wine traditionally had at Christmas time.
“It feels great,” said Spires. “Bringing this back to its German roots is something that’s really exciting to us.”
Friday night’s Stein Holding competition was one of the traditional German events that is now being included in the festival. This year’s event was free to enter, and competitors were asked to hold out a stein full of water in a bid to see who could hold theirs out the longest. Each competitor had to participate in a qualifying round.
Several dropped out in under a minute while others lasted much longer, but the competition ultimately boiled down to a fierce competition between Robert McDowell of Big Dog BBQ and Brian Burns, a Major in III Corps and community engagement officer for Fort Hood.
The two lasted significantly longer than any other competitor, but it was ultimately Burns who emerged victorious.
“It was tough,” said Burns. “The finals were tough. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I just pulled it through, I guess. I was nervous too, but it was fun.”
Burns said that he enjoyed being able to come out and participate in Krist Kindl Markt as well as the stein holding competition.
“It’s fun. Just being out here in the community and being able to participate is awesome,” said Burns. “My family and I are having a great time. I’m here with my wife, Naomi, my daughter Vanessa, and my son, Brian Burns II…My mother-in-law is also here visiting, and that’s just icing on the cake.”
One of the big free events for the children at this year’s Krist Kindl Markt was Clinton Brown’s Slimetown. The event was sponsored by Clinton Brown, an All City Real Estate agent and led by Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism, Communications, Events Coordinator, K’Dajah Williams.
Williams and a team of CCHS Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) volunteers created a huge vat of slime and added sensory items and glitter allowing interested children (and adults!) to collect their very own tubs of slime and customize it to their liking.
“It’s been great. Everybody is coming over and they’re all enjoying it,” said Williams. She described how the students were able to stretch it out and play with the slime using glitter and small snowflake pieces to decorate it. She said that there must have been hundreds of families that visited their booth and all of them seemed like they had a great time.
Destinee Leimbach attended Krist Kindl Markt along with her family. She said that it’s very different than it was when she was growing up, but that she loves buying little trinkets and Christmas gifts at the festival.
“I come to this thing because I love the vendors,” said Leimbach. “The kids absolutely love it.”
LaDonna White had her own vendor booth, LaDonna’s Creations, where she sold wreaths, swags, cups, centerpieces and more that she crafted herself, most with a Christmas theme. She said that business was slow but steady and that she was enjoying the festival so far.
“This is awesome,” said White. “There is such a variety of vendors. There’s all kinds of stuff [being sold].”
Jessica Bryan was another Krist Kindl Markt vendor with her booth, Jess’ Gems. Bryan offered a variety of customized and sublimated tumblers as well as pens, journals, coasters, and ornaments.
“I can put anything you want on there,” said Bryan about her products.
Bryan said that her father was the one who got into crafting. After he became legally blind, he began making and selling handcrafted signs. Bryan said that she started making her tumblers as a way to bond with and craft alongside her father. She said that last year, she and her father were going to run a booth at Krist Kindl Markt together, but she ended up running it herself after her father’s unexpected passing from Covid-19. Bryan said that the community was really supportive of her father and she wanted to come back this year. She said that she makes and sells her crafts as a way of remembering her father.
“The crowd’s been good. There’s been a good flow of people,” said Bryan who added that she’s gotten a lot of supportive comments from the community about her tumblers and that she had already sold a lot of them at this year’s festival.
“I love [Krist Kindl Markt],” added Bryan. “I grew up in Cove and I love being able to come out and do some Christmas shopping.”