A couple weeks ago on a Saturday night the weather was cool and clear so we took a short ride to Arlington, TX to visit the Texas Christkindl Market. This was the fourth year the market has been set up and we went with high expectations from the write-ups we found online about it. However, and I really don’t like going down this road, it was a complete disappointment and nothing short of overblown hype.
The market is supposed to be based around a German American theme. German wooden toys, ornaments, wood works, beer, bratwursts, sauerkraut, you get the idea. We were surprised to find so many non-German shops rounding out the market. If you were looking for wool woven scarfs and head gear from Tibet, this was the place to go. If you wanted miscellaneous trinkets from the street markets of Nepal and China, you found it. There were geodes from the Texas hill country and jewelers that made your typical cosmetic bling, and of course Christmas tree ornaments aplenty. The primary “German” shops we found were a goblet maker, a wooden toy carousel shop, and a wooden cutting board craftsman. Other than those the majority of “German” related theme items to be found were the shop signs.
There was a marionette show that we wanted to see but we had just missed the start and they wouldn’t let you in after it began. The marionette show was a unique attraction and one you almost never see. Though marionettes did not originate in Germany or America they have roots in German culture even today.
Aside from the 200 yards or so of world culture and general junk shopping, there were a few food vendors as well. Coca Cola was selling at the ridiculous price of $4 a bottle. Hot chocolate was a healthy $4 for a small coffee cup serving. Coffee was $2 a cup, finding itself being the only reasonable value of the night. There was the ever favorite Kettle Korn, not sure if that has German roots or not, but it is an American favorite so it had its place in the market. They did have bratwurst though, if you were willing to pay $8 each for a small store packaged sized wiener on a Mrs Bairds bun. Definitely not the wursts I was accustomed to seeing when I lived in Europe. And I thought everything was bigger in Texas… There were side orders available too but at $4 and higher each it was unreasonable. They did have an excellent serving size of beer though that would cost you $12 and you got to keep the glass mug it came in. I don’t mean to harp on the prices because it’s expected that you usually pay more at a fair type event. The prices at this “German” market were simply unreasonable considering the commonality of the items being sold. In our search for Apfelstrudels, Bienenstich, Frikadellen, Currywurst, Bavarian Pretzels, and foot long Wursts which overflow generously from the ends of a bun, we never found satisfaction, leaving us dumbfounded as to how people were bamboozled into paying outrageous prices for non-traditional food you can find packaged, ready to microwave from Walmart. I have no problem paying a premium price for extraordinary food, but just because average food that is being tagged as German-American and is being served at a seasonal event doesn’t justify price gouging.
The following video is more along the lines of what we were expecting. Take note of the giant wursts and buns at the far end of the serving counter and at the giant wurst the guy is walking with at the end of the video.
I am usually not this harsh about the events we ride too. Margaret and I have gone to craft fairs, street corner festivals, bike events and gatherings, country markets, peach festivals, strawberry festivals, and other types of craftsy things for years. We ride weekly to eating places all over North Texas and know what good food is and where to find it. We have never been more put off by one of these types of events. We did have a nice ride Saturday evening to and from the Market and made a nice dinner once we arrived home. I made a short video of the market and because it was supposed to be a “German” themed event I used a traditional German style music to get you in the mood for what the Texas Christkindl Market was failing to be.