Holiday traditions continue, begin in Manheim

By on December 14, 2016
Madeline Erickson with the German stars and feather trees she crafts At The Christmas folk Art Show. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Madeline Erickson with the German stars and feather trees she crafts At The Christmas folk Art Show. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Christmas in Manheim celebrations continued this past weekend with two events — the Manheim Historical Society’s Christmas Folk Art Show and the Lancaster Liederkranz’s Christkindlmarkt.

The Christmas Folk Art Show has become a holiday tradition for both artisans and the show’s host, the Manheim Historical Society. Woodcarver and event organizer Doug Shaw characterized the show as intimate; there are only 12 artisans displaying their hand-crafted items in the society’s restored railroad station.

“People really enjoy this show — they can pick up some unique holiday gifts,” said Sue Shaw, “We had people lined up waiting for the doors to open.”

Some of the artisans such as Doug Shaw, pen and ink illustrator Dan Barthold, and redware potter Andy Loercher have been part of the show for a number of years. Others such as fiber artist Christine Morgan and paper artist Madeline Erickson are relatively new to the show.

Since it’s a smaller venue, artists have an opportunity to interact with guests and answer questions about their craft. Morgan explained to one guest that her fiber art involves working with several layers of fiber, while Cynthia Baker explained the process of felting, which she uses to create felted hats and purses.

Christmas Folk Art Show coordinator and wood carver Doug Shaw (right) discusses his work with Sharon Hill (left).

Christmas Folk Art Show coordinator and wood carver Doug Shaw (right) discusses his work with Sharon Hill (left).

There’s also a wide range of ages represented in the artists. At 24, Erickson is arguably the youngest, but she’s been creating traditional German stars since she was nine-years old. Creating German stars is a family tradition started by her great-grandfather. She also creates another traditional German holiday item — feather trees. Her mom, Patti Erickson, explained that feather trees originated in Germany in the 19th century.

A number of guests at the show were curious about the trees, asking if they’re made with real feathers. The answer is yes; they’re goose feathers that are collected as the geese are molting

While the Christmas Folk Art Show is a well-established two-day event, this was the inaugural year for the Liederkranz’s Christkindlmarkt, which was held Sunday afternoon. But like many other events hosted by the Liederkranz, this one is rooted in German tradition.

Mia Hutchinson (left) and Josh Stanavage, members of the Alpenrose Schuhplattlers, prepare to perform at Lancaster Liederkranz’s Christkindlmarkt.

Mia Hutchinson (left) and Josh Stanavage, members of the Alpenrose Schuhplattlers, prepare to perform at Lancaster Liederkranz’s Christkindlmarkt.

Event chair Elise Bullington explained that in a tradition that dates to the 1500s, small- to medium-sized German towns hold Christkindlmarkts outdoors in town square during the four weeks of Advent.

“Last year I was on a Christkindlmarkt tour and that’s where I got the idea,” she explained. “We host a Sommerfest and Oktoberfest, so why not add a holiday market? We don’t have a town square, but we do have a large pavilion.”

Over 30 vendors were in the outdoor pavilion. To keep both vendors and guests warm, canvas sides and patio heaters were installed. Some snow flurries earlier in the day added to the festive atmosphere.

Guests not only could purchase interesting gift items including handcrafted soaps, dog treats, ornaments, Moravian stars, and warm weather apparel, but they also had an opportunity to view performances from the club’s dancers and Christmas carolers.

Carolers entertain at Christkindlmarket.

Carolers entertain at Christkindlmarket.

Penn Manor High School’s German Club offered children an opportunity to send a letter to Santa as well as an opportunity to visit both Santa and the Belsnickel. Children were also invited to the ratskeller, or basement, of the clubhouse, for face painting and crafts, including creating ornaments for the Liederkranz tree. Filled with natural ornaments to provide food for birds and other animals, the tree was lit as part of the concluding Christkindlmarkt activities.

Bullington estimated that the event drew over 1,000 people.

“We were pleasantly overwhelmed,” she said. “We didn’t know what to expect this first year, so we didn’t have volunteers directing parking as we do for our fests. We’ll add that for next year.”

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

Penelope Phillips creates an ornament for the Liederkranz tree. The tree featured natural ornaments that will provide food for birds and animals.

Penelope Phillips creates an ornament for the Liederkranz tree. The tree featured natural ornaments that will provide food for birds and animals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *