“Fly! Fly!” exclaimed Cason Haubrich, 4, while holding Prancer’s reins during the fourth annual Christkindl Market Dec. 1 at Riley’s Conference Center.
The conference center was transformed to a Christmas village for the event, which featured a variety of vendors, performances and Family-friendly activities. A visit from Santa’s reindeer, Prancer, was a popular addition.
Children had the opportunity to see the reindeer up close and have their pictures taken on a sleigh.
“(Our kids) were so excited to meet Prancer, they could hardly stand it,” said Amy Hartung, military spouse.
After posing for a photo with Prancer, Hartung’s daughter Calleya, 6, promised the reindeer, “I’ll leave you carrots for Christmas.”
Children also had an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap for a photo and, of course, tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
“A guitar!” exclaimed Aiden Seymour, 3.
“We just read about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, so we took a picture with Prancer outside, and (Aiden) wanted to sit on Santa’s lap,” said Aiden’s mother, Gwen Seymour, military spouse.
Tehya Cappa, 2, asked Santa for an art easel so she could color pictures to send to her father who is deployed.
“To see the Families getting dressed up, coming out, spending time together, having a great time, that’s why we do it,” said Caité Kendrick, recreation programmer, special events, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, who planned the event.
The event also featured carousel rides, cookie decorating, wagon rides with the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard, a German-themed lunch menu, a scavenger hunt, performances by the Geary County Children’s Choir and the Morris Hill Children’s Choir, a roving accordion player, as well as vendors selling handmade and homemade goods. Tables overflowed with wood puzzles, crocheted hats and blankets, note cards, jams, jellies, ornaments, handbags, jewelry, decorated trees, coasters, rugs, wreaths and more.
“This is my fourth year attending. It’s the biggest and best year yet,” said Amanda Bartholome, military spouse. “The carousel and reindeer are a great addition.”
“I love Christmas (and the) giving spirit,” said Spc. Bethany Cybulski, 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Combat Brigade Team, 1st Infantry Division, who volunteered at the event with Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers.
With nearly 4,500 attendees, this year’s Christkindl was the biggest yet.
“We’ve had an amazing turnout,” Kendrick said, adding that although the lines for some activities were long, “they were worth the wait.”
“We love it,” Hartung said. “It’s very well done and the creativity was amazing.”
By Julie Fiedler
1st Inf. Div. Post
Julie Fiedler | POST
Rebekah Martin, military spouse, right, points out festive headdresses to her children Taylor, 9, left, Nocholi, 7, center, and Peyton, 3, lower right, at a vendor’s booth during the Christkindl Market Dec. 1 at Riley’s Conference Center.
Cason Haubrich, 4, left, Noah Haubrich, 5, center, and Tabitha Haubrich, 6, right, pose for a photo with Prancer the reindeer during the Christkindl Market Dec. 1 at Riley’s Conference Center.
Grace English, 5, left, and her baby sister, Arabelle, 5 months, pose with Santa Claus during the Christkindl Market Dec. 1 at Riley’s Conference Center. Grace asked Santa for a baby doll for Christmas.