HARMONY — Residents and visitors this weekend can dust off their lederhosen and dirndls and head down to the borough's Weihnachtsmarkt, its annual German-style Christmas market.
The annual market, sponsored by Historic Harmony, features German entertainment and refreshments and approximately 50 crafts vendors. Rodney Gasch, Historic Harmony president, said the event will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and usually attracts between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors from across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
“It's really grown the last 10 years to be one of the premier events in Harmony,” he added.
Crafts vendors and other attractions will be held indoors, so while it may be brisk outside, there will be warmth indoors — and not just from the heating. One of the main attractions for the event is gluehwein, or mulled wine, served in a commemorative gluehwein mug.
“We get many people who have either traveled in Germany, or grew up there, or were in the service, and they comment about how good the gluehwein is and how it brings them back to when they visited a Christmas market in Stuttgart or Cologne,” Gasch said.
The gluehwein hut in this year's market will be new, with help from Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School students. Private companies and the Zelienople Rotary Club donated supplies and funds to help the hut take its new form.
Gasch said another main drawing point is that all crafts featured at the market are handmade. He said it adds character to the event and showcases the historic buildings in Harmony.
“It's all independent craft people, so it really has that small-town flavor of local people making handmade crafts,” he said. “We look forward to it because it's a fun event that brings a lot of people to Harmony (and) showcases our buildings, our museums and the craftsmanship that still goes on.”
Admission to the market is $7 for adults, $5 for Harmony Museum members and senior citizens, $3 for students, and free for children under age 6.
Events are held in a fenced-in area in the parking lot between the museum and the Harmony Fire District, and museum staff will be cooking food — including bratwurst, blaukraut and roasted nuts.
“It's like a magical event that turns this gravel parking lot into this community of craftsmen and German dancers and German music and German food,” Gasch said.