German Christmas Market
Saturday November 14th – 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday November 15th – 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Harmony Museum’s annual WeihnachtsMarkt, a Christmas market in the German tradition that has become a major regional attraction, will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 14 - 15th in the heart of Harmony’s National Historic landmark District.
The festival has also become the museum’s prime annual fundraiser while presenting seasonal gift-shopping in a family-fun atmosphere. The thousands of visitors who attend each year find handcrafted and German imports. Artisans and vendors are chosen to participate based on the quality of their offerings; no stereotypical "shopping mall festival" stuff here. Entertainment, food and refreshments also reflect Harmony’s German heritage.
Market hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, free for children younger than six, including all-day access to the market, museum, entertainment and wagon rides.
The eight-site Harmony Museum is operated by Historic Harmony, a nonprofit, volunteer historical society and preservation advocate established in 1943.
Harmony, a National Historic Landmark District, is the region’s most significant individual historic site. Its heritage includes a local Delaware Indian village; the mission by a young George Washington that helped spark the French and Indian War; the town’s 1804 founding by communal Lutheran German Separatists seeking separation of church and state; the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies; the late 19th century oil boom that’s being repeated with the 21st century’s Marcellus-Utica natural gas play, and much more.
More than 40 artisans and specialty vendors provide the market part of WeihnachtsMarkt. Museum quilters and weavers demonstrate their work. There are model railroad displays in the museum’s Wagner House annex.
This year’s entertainment includes Alpen Schuhplattlers, Augsburg Band, Burke’s Bavarian Brass, Pittsburgh Swiss Singers and the Acme Tunes hammered dulcimer ensemble.
German foods and refreshments include soup, bratwurst and sauerbraten sandwiches, German potato salad, baked goods and mulled cider. A winery offers tastings and sales.
Several market artisans demonstrate their skills while offering items as diverse as embroidery; dolls; wood ware and boxes; jewelry; linens; games; wood carvings and furniture; ornaments; paintings, drawings, scherenschnitte (cut paper), silhouettes and sculpture; foodstuffs, including German roasted nuts, olive oils and vinegars; German-style tatting, and knitted and woven goods; glassware; red ware, stone ware and other pottery; greeting cards and stationary; herbs, plants and flowers; salves, cosmetics and teas; books and historical maps; punched tin; clocks; soaps and lotions; stained glass; and locally forged iron ware. Select merchants offer German and other European goods from toys, nutcrackers and smokers to recorded music.
At nightfall Saturday, visitors join in caroling at the lighting of a live Christmas tree. It serves as the museum’s long-time Christmas season Giving Tree -- each donor’s contribution hangs an ornament on the tree.
Harmony’s specialty shops present even more opportunities for visitors who collect or enjoy giving works by regional artists, collectibles, jewelry, or vintage/distinctive clothing and accessories.
Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh’s downtown Point and 30 miles south of I-80. Follow directional signs to plentiful free parking; several lots are linked to the market by continuous free shuttle service. The architectural character of Harmony reflects that of the German villages from which its founders came. Many area Harmonist and Mennonite buildings survive; the community's award-winning preservation efforts have long attracted recognition.