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Celebrating 10 years of Old World Christmas Market!

In the last decade, Old World Christmas Market has seen many changes, big and small. In celebration of this momentous anniversary, we wanted to highlight 10 ways we’ve changed (or stayed the same).

  1. Name Change
    Our first market in 2010 had a different name, Old Prague Christmas Market. After about three years, we decided to change the name to Old World Christmas Market – it has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? We wanted to have the ability to bring in a wider range of vendors and appeal to more people, while still celebrating the tradition of Christmas Markets.
  2. Indoors
    Traditional European Christmas Markets are typically found outside in the town square, so initially we had our market outside – in Czech Village, in the parking lot, and on our lawn by the river. It was lovely, however, it was very cold and sometimes muddy. After a few years of trying it outside, we made the decision to move the event indoors where we were able to expand into the galleries with even more activities for families to enjoy!
  3. Mulled Wine (svařák)
    The Event Services Bar has offered many delicious Christmas cocktails throughout the years and this year is no exception. They will be brewing up mulled wine for this special occasion. While every country puts their own spin on the recipe, mulled wine is a traditional staple across European Christmas markets. While some folks think that the Ancient Egyptians may have heated their wine in 3000 BCE, most attribute the creation of mulled wine to the Romans in the 2nd They viewed it as medicinal as it would help fight off the cold of winter. We’re not saying ours has medicinal properties, but it will keep you warm!
  4. Czech & Slovak Holiday Traditions
    Carps in bathtubs, rotten potatoes, and floating walnuts. Across the Czech and Slovak Republics, families participate in various traditions, much like we do here in Iowa. Instead of turkey or ham for our main meal, it’s tradition to have carp at the center of a Czech or Slovak Christmas meal. But what’s with the bathtub? Many people have bought their carp days before Christmas and kept them in their bathtubs to keep them fresh and clean them. For the last 10 years, we have been sure to share these traditions with our thousands of guests.
  5. Shop Local
    We all know how difficult it can be to shop for that one friend or family member who seems to have it all. Every year we bring in local vendors with their unique products, which should help round out your shopping list!
  6. Unique Entertainment
    From bobbin lace to Czech dancers, some of the best moments of this weekend are watching the performances and demonstrations. When you look at pictures of the market in Prague, you can see plenty of entertainment and artists demonstrating their skills. We invite local guilds to come demonstrate during Old World Christmas Market, and the youth ensemble, Světlušky, will be performing traditional music and dance on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Check out our schedule to see all the other entertainment offerings throughout the weekend.
  7. Cookie Walk
    Cookies in bulk! What could be better than that? The Museum Guild has been hosting the Annual Cookie Walk for 21 years, twice as long as the market has been around. We are so thankful that it has become part of the Old World Christmas tradition. Every year guests line up early to make sure that they get their cookie fix! While we say it may go until 12:30 p.m., the Cookie Walk is so popular that supplies often run out beforehand.
  8. Svatý Mikuláš
    Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, Santa Claus — he goes by many names and has many outfits. In the Czech and Slovak Republics he goes by Svatý Mikuláš. Instead of having a list and checking it twice, SvatýMikuláš, along with Čert and Anděl (the Devil and Angel), ask children if they had been good that year. If they had, the angel would give them a treat of fruit, candy, or a small toy. However, if they were naughty, the devil would give them a rotten potato! Svatý Mikuláš, Čert, and Anděl will be visiting the Old World Christmas Market both days of the market from 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
  9. Deck the District
    This is a busy weekend for the Czech Village and NewBo neighborhoods! Organizations and businesses on both sides of the river have events the entire weekend, so eventually we all came together to create one big event that unifies all of our individual celebrations. Keep up to date on everyone’s events at: https://www.facebook.com/deckthedistrict/
  10. Modern Family Tradition
    In the past 10 years, we have seen so many families and visitors come back year after year! We’re proud every time we’re told that Old World Christmas Market has become an annual event or tradition for families in the community. And we look forward to seeing this wonderful community event grow in the next 10 years!

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