A power-saw woodcarver impresses onlookers at last year's event
A sign for the German Christmas Market (in German) in 2016
SPARTA — A blanket of snow set the scene this Sunday afternoon outside the Lake Mohawk Country Club, where the Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market Committee recognized volunteers and sponsors for their contributions to last year's two-day Christmas Market. The committee distributed approximately $40,300 in charitable donations to twenty local organizations.
The market, which celebrated its fifteenth year in 2016, is New Jersey's largest event of its kind. Its unique offerings of authentic German cuisine and entertainment have even earned it a recommendation from the German Consulate, which noted on their website last year that the Lake Mohawk area has long drawn immigrants of German descent. In 2015, the market was awarded the Sussex County Chamber's Philanthropic Award, a distinction for which it has been nominated again this year.
Attendance has steadily increased since 2001, to the extent that shuttle buses are now offered to help attendees avoid packed parking lots. Last year's market was the biggest yet, selling out all available vendor spaces and stretching across the entire length of the Lake Mohawk boardwalk, which committee co-chair Helena Bould said was "always our dream."
"We're so proud," said Bould, who added that the all-volunteer group was at last able to "give back in the manner with which the committee has always strived to do."
Local businesses big and small contributed time, funds, and special discounts to benefit the German Christmas Market last year, exemplifying what Bould called a "true sense of community."
The market keeps expenses down by using a purely volunteer task force to tackle the intensive labor and planning that goes into organizing the event, as well as collaborating with other volunteer groups such as the Sparta Kiwanis. According to Bould, it's the generosity of the local community that allows the committee to donate approximately fifty percent of its proceeds each year.
This year's donation recipients included the Sussex County Arts Council, Meals on Wheels, Birth Haven, Ginnie's House, Domestic Abuse Services Inc., and the Sparta Board of Education's German language department. The Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market Committee has awarded over $235,000 in donations since the first market in 2001, and plans to continue to strive to give back to the local community as much as possible in the years to come.
The 2017 German Christmas Market will be held on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, with special early access offered to Lake Mohawk Country Club members on Friday. More information on vendor spaces or volunteer opportunities can be found at www.lakemohawkgermanchristmasmarket.com.