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CELEBRATE A HERMANN CHRISTMAS

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Experience an Old World Christmas in Historic Missouri Town
 

 

 

   When the Holiday season draws near, there is no better place to observe a traditional German-style Christmas than Hermann, MO. This 19th century village, on the banks of the Missouri River, provides a unique setting where visitors can step back in time and experience the feeling of a true old time Christmas.

    Holiday events are nothing new to Hermann, but the over the past few years the number and quality of events have increased. Now there are an abundance of opportunities to enjoy traditional German culture and celebrations as part of the Christmas season. A complete schedule is available at www.VisitHermann.com, or by calling 800-932-8687.

    Downtown Hermann also features many unique shops and galleries all decked out for the Holidays, offering many choices for special, one of a kind, Christmas gifts. Restaurants and wineries are open every day. 

    Most of the activities will be the first two weekends of December, focused around the Kristkindl Markts, which are reminiscent of traditional Christmas markets in Germany.

    On December 1-2 the 20th annual Kristkindl Markt at the Stone Hill Winery Pavilion will feature a variety of crafts and Holiday items, including several "Missouri Hands" artisans, as well as food and local entertainment. The Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce is the sponsor.

    On December 8-9 the market moves to the Hermannhof Festhalle, Hofgarten, and newly restored Mill at 1st and Gutenberg Street, sponsored by the Dierberg Educational Foundation. This event will feature food and craft demonstrations, story telling, a visit from Father Christmas, a select group of local artists and craftsmen, and a variety of food and entertainment. 

    Both markets will be brightly decorated and offer an opportunity to experience traditional German Christmas activities, music and demonstrations. The markets are open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.    

    The St. George Catholic Church Rectory Tour, honored recently by the Missouri Division of Tourism with its 2012 Pathfinder Award, will expand to two weekends this year. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on December 1, 2, 8, and 9. The Rectory Tour has become one of Hermann's very special Holiday activities. Father William Debo, and parishioners from St. George and other local churches, have worked countless hours to create a spectacular old world Christmas display that sparkles with candles, music, traditional art and décor, dozens of Christmas trees and themed rooms. A good will offering at the door will help fund the Hermann Ministerial Alliance's efforts to assist needy residents.

    Weihnachtfest will be celebrated both weekends at the Deutschheim State Historic Site, which is the German heritage site of the Missouri State Park System and features some of Hermann's oldest buildings. Deutschheim is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, with special Christmas displays depicting German traditions and decorations dating back to the 19th century.

    The Historic Hermann Museum at the German School, built in 1871, will also be open both weekends to observe the Holiday season with tours, special decorations and refreshments. Once again this year the museum will feature a German Bakery, offering many choices of traditional Holiday baked goods. The museum is open on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m.

    On December 1 the Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Holiday House Tours from 2-7 p.m., offering an opportunity to tour four unique homes in the Hermann area, specially decorated for the season. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Welcome Center or at www.VisitHermann.com. These homes have never been on tour before and three of them date back to the 19th century.

Also on December 1, visitors can celebrate Christmas 1800s style as the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles holds its annual Lewis & Clark Christmas Party at the Hermannhof Festhalle. The group, re-enactors and educators of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery, will have interpretive exhibits open to the public from noon-4 p.m. at the Hermannhof Hofgarten, including a twilight Downtown lantern parade at 5:00.

    A Christmas dinner, starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by a military ball at 8, is open to the public. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Hermann Welcome Center or by calling 800-932-8687. Period dress is encouraged but not required; seating is limited.  

    The Say Cheese Wine Trail will be held December 8-9 at seven wineries in and around Hermann where cheese dishes are paired with wine. Tickets are $30 and can be bought at the Welcome Center or at www.VisitHermann.com. 

    On November 24, at 6 p.m., the Christmas season officially begins with a traditional Lantern Parade through the Downtown. In Germany, the traditional festival of lanterns celebrates the generosity and compassion of Martin of Tours, a German knight who gave half his coat to a beggar. The parade starts and ends at the Clara Eitmann Messmer Amphitheatre at 5th and Gutenberg. After the parade, participants may join in singing Christmas carols and enjoy refreshments. All ages are welcome to participate.

    Also on November 24, a Holiday organ concert will be held at 3 and 7 p.m. at St. Martin's Church Museum in Starkenburg, located two miles north of Highway 94 near Rhineland. Barry Bierwirth, a talented musician who is a Hermann native now living in St. Louis, will play the church's historic Pfeffer Pipe Organ. He will be joined by several other performers as well as the St. Paul U.C.C. Handbell Choir of Hermann. Donations are invited, but there is no admission charge.

    For more details about events that are part of "A Hermann Christmas", go to www.VisitHermann.com or call 800-932-8687. Additional information about lodging and other activities are also available. 

    Hermann is an hour west of St. Louis. It can be reached from Highway 19 at both Interstates 44 and 70 and from Highway 100 off I-44.