Christkindlmarkt Returns for Three Full Weekends This Holiday Season

Organizers are bringing the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt back for its second holiday season this year, starting Thanksgiving weekend and operating each weekend until December 15.

Last year’s Christkindlmarkt took place every weekend on Fountain Square. This year the festive seasonal marketplace will spend its first weekend on Fountain Square and then move for its final two weekends to Essen Strasse on the south side of Findlay Market in historic Over-the-Rhine.

“It was decided to move the Christkindlmarkt to Findlay Market for the following two weekends because it is the most iconic market place in the city, and is representative of Cincinnati’s German culture,” explained Lisa Bambach, marketing and creative director for Cincideutsch. “It is a link not only to Cincinnati’s German past, but also to the vibrant German-American culture which continues to permeate the city today.”

Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt
Visitors at Cincinnati’s inaugural Christkindlmarkt on Fountain Square in 2012. Photograph by Paige Malott.

Christkindlmarkt have been a holiday tradition in town centers throughout Germany and Austria for hundreds of years.

“It is a place for people to get together with family and friends to enjoy the seasonal weather and celebrate the holidays,” explained Olaf Scheil, a native of Lübeck, Germany and president and co-founder of Cincideutsch. “We are thrilled to be able to bring this tradition to the people of Cincinnati for the second year in a row.”

After more than 15,000 people visited last year, Scheil expects a similar number of visitors to come and enjoy the Christkindlmarkt this season. To help keep things interesting and active, organizers have coordinated live music, glass blowing, holiday sweets and baked goods, drink, decorations and crafts for sale within half-timbered houses.

In addition to the European baked goods, a hot spiced wine called Glühwein is also considered to be a holiday favorite amongst visitors. And in Cincinnati and German fashion, there will also be plenty of beer to go around.

“Glühwein is something I look forward to making each year since I first tried it in Switzerland,” Bambach confessed. “The aroma of the spices reminds me of Christmas just like the smell of pumpkin makes me think of Thanksgiving. It is a consistent feature at Christkindlmarkt in Europe, no matter which city you visit.”

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt is sponsored by Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and will kick off in coordination with Macy’s Light Up The Square and DCI’s Downtown Dazzle on November 29 through December 1. The seasonal market will then move to Findlay Market December 6-8 and December 13-15. Both locations will have heaters to help keep visitors warm on cold days.

“We received both positive and negative feedback from 2012, and we have worked diligently to improve visitors’ experiences based on those comments,” Bambach noted. “The market is completely organized and run by volunteers, and in our second year we wanted to expand while also ensuring the growth was manageable.”

The Christkindlmarkt will be open from 11am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday at Fountain Square. The market will then be open in coordination with normal Findlay Market hours when it moves there for its final two weekends.

Record Fair to Gather Area Music Lovers in Northside This Weekend

Northside Presbyterian ChurchHundreds of vinyl collectors and music lovers will gather in Northside this weekend for the second annual Northside Record Fair.

The event, according to its website, seeks to “bring together record collector dorks from all over the Midwest to buy, sell, trade and generally nerd out” over thousands of records, CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reels, posters, concert DVDs, zines and other music memorabilia.

More than 40 vendors from across the Midwest – a mix of independent record stores, small limited-edition labels, dealers and private collectors – will sell at the event, including event sponsor Shake-It Records, Black Plastic in Northside and Louisville record store Astro Black.

The Northside Record Fair extends beyond the boundaries of a typical record swap however.

“I’m more of the mindset of wanting the record fair more out there than just Elvis records and Beatles records,” explained event organizer Jon Lorenz. “My interests are in more obscure punk records or indie records or experimental stuff.”

Lorenz had always wanted to organize a large-scale record fair, taking inspiration from New York’s WFMU Record Fair. When a friend first suggested organizing a record swap in 2012, Lorenz said, “Why not go all out and make it as big as we can?”

Last year’s inaugural Northside Record Fair at Hoffner Lodge attracted over 400 people from Cincinnati and as far as Lexington, Louisville, Indianapolis and Columbus. This year Lorenz anticipates an even bigger crowd.

The event is produced by Lorenz under the moniker Dome Presents, a music promoter specializing in underground, DIY and experimental music. Lorenz says that he started Dome Presents to try to engage bigger bands that have a more underground or cult following that would normally skip Cincinnati.

The Northside Record Fair will take place on Saturday, November 23 at the Northside Presbyterian Church on Hamilton Avenue from 11am to 4pm. Early bird admission will cost $10 and start an hour earlier at 10am. Regular admission will cost just $5.

The event is easily accessible by several Metro bus routes, and Northside offers an abundance of free bicycle parking.

Ubahn Fest to Bring Two-Day Hip Hop, Electronic Music Festival to Riverfront Transit Center

Cincinnati’s underground transit center will host two nights of hip hop and electronic music this weekend.

Ubahn Fest is a hip hop and electronic dance music festival that will take place November 15 and 16 in downtown Cincinnati’s Riverfront Transit Center. The festival will host 36 national and local hip hop and electronic acts in the half-mile underground tunnel in between Pete Rose Way and Elm Street under Second Street.

Ubahn Fest – named after Germany’s underground metro system – is being produced by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, consumer marketing agency AGAR and music promoter Self Diploma. The festival is not affiliated with last year’s Scion Underground event that also took place in the Riverfront Transit Center.

“There are no other hip hop/electronic festivals like this around the Cincinnati area,” explained Self Diploma founder Sean Herron in an interview with UrbanCincy. “What we are really excited about is the space we are creating it in – the underground tunnel is going to be something people will never forget partying inside.”

The Riverfront Transit Center currently serves as Metro’s bus staging facility during major events and its new Metro*Plus service.

Herron, a hip hop and electronic booking agent behind events like Fountain Square’s “Beats” summer concert series, shared the 9 artists he is most excited to see at Ubahn Festival this weekend.

Friday Picks: A-TRAK, DaveyC & Prism, The Animal Crackers, Trademark Aaron and Puck

Saturday Picks: Mike Posner, Cal Scruby, Buggs Tha Rocka and Santino Corleon

The two-day music event will run from 7pm to 2am each day. Those 18 years of age or older are welcome to attend. Friday’s collection of performances will be headlined by A-TRAK, while Saturday will feature Mike Posner.

Passes can be purchased in advance online and cost $20 for one day or $30 for both. Those prices go up to $25 and $40, respectively, on the day of the show.

VIDEO: Second Cincinnati Street Food Festival Grows in Popularity

The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF) hosted the second annual Cincinnati Street Food Festival three weekends ago along E. McMillan Street.

The event built on the success from the previous year and added more vendors with 15 total this year. There were also more activities, which helped to attract a diverse crowd from the neighborhood and the rest of the city.

As we reported prior to the event, a lot of interesting things are taking place in Walnut Hills. The WHRF has spearheaded a number of unique placemaking activities meant to engage the community, including the Five Points Biergarten and Buy 25 events.

In case you were not able to attend the 2013 Cincinnati Street Food Festival, WHRF staffer Andrew Stahlke put together another one of his tremendous videos. It is nearly four minutes in length and worth every second of viewing. The music included with the video is ’Who We Are (Live United Mix)’ by Tracy Walker.

If you want to learn even more about what is happening in the Walnut Hills area, listen to our exclusive podcast with WHRF director Kevin Wright from March 17.

The Ridges to Perform Live Film Score of Nosferatu at CAM

Nosferatu at CAMTonight, the Cincinnati Art Museum’s (CAM) free Art After Dark series will collaborate with orchestral folk rock group The Ridges to bring a classic horror film to life.

As part of October’s “Immortal Spirits” theme, The Ridges will perform an original string-based score to an abridged version of the 1922 silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror inside the Museum’s Great Hall.

Art After Dark is one of the CAM’s many recurring events aimed at young professionals. The museum is open until 9pm, past its usual closing time of 5pm, so it is an opportunity to explore one of the country’s oldest art museums after hours, check out some world-class art, enjoy a drink, and this Friday, watch a vampire flick accompanied by a folk rock band in the Great Hall.

Based out of Athens, Ohio, The Ridges is led by Victor Rasgaitis (guitar, vocals) and Talor Smith (cello, vocals) but feature any number of musicians from a rotating collective of players on cello, violin, banjo, horns, percussion, mandolin and accordion. CAM’s screening of Nosferatu will be scored for guitar, cello, violin, upright bass, and banjo.

The Ridges are known for presenting each show as a unique and different experience, and their performance of Nosferatu is no exception. “It’s our own reimagining of the film,” said Ridges frontman Victor Rasgaitis.

While the band composed some new, original music for the film, they also reworked parts from some of their existing songs. For example, the film plays heavily on the use of Nosferatu’s shadow, so it only made sense to Rasgaitis to use their song “Shadows” as Nosferatu’s theme.

“Whenever he’s on screen, we’re doing variations of the chord progression of our song,” Rasgaitis explained.

The band is a perfect fit to revisit the adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The Ridges took their name from the allegedly haunted asylum in their hometown, and even recorded their 2011 EP inside the Victorian-era asylum in the dead of winter. (If you listen closely, it’s rumored you can hear mysterious, unexplained noises and whispers in the background of some of the songs).

The Ridges’ romantic Old World sound has been compared to Beirut, Arcade Fire, and Fleet Foxes, while Daytrotter described their music as “hidden with turn of the century and Dust Bowl-era themes.”

The free event will also feature guided ghost tours ending at the newest exhibit, Realm of the Immortals: Daoist Art in the Cincinnati Art Museum, as well as a cash bar (featuring Great Lakes’ Nosferatu Ale, of course) and appetizers for purchase. Parking is free for Art Museum members; $4 for non-members. The CAM is also served by multiple Metro bus routes.

“Art After Dark: Immortal Souls” will take place from 5pm to 9pm. The Ridges Present: Nosferatu, Symphony of Horror will go from 6pm to 8pm. Ghost tours, meanwhile, are scheduled to take place at 6:30pm and 7:30pm.

Street Food Festival to Highlight Progress and Potential of Walnut Hills

1391627_499302080165916_699884893_nOne year ago city officials and community leaders stood at the intersection of McMillian Street and Park Avenue in Walnut Hills to celebrate an effort that was decades in the making, the conversion of McMillan and William Howard Taft from one way streets to two way streets. That same day, Walnut Hills also celebrated its first Street Food Festival along Gilbert Avenue. One year later, the festival has now moved to McMillan Avenue, this time to celebrate past achievements and future possibilities.

“The two-way conversion of McMillan allows us to move the festival to this location. It’s a neighborhood street again,” Kevin Wright, Executive Director of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF) told UrbanCincy.

Food trucks and street carts provide popular dining options all over the country. While regarded early on as a trend, it seems now that these tough but successful business models are working hard and are here to stay. Cincinnati’s growing food truck fleet has been offering high quality eats across many of the Greater Cincinnati Area’s neighborhoods, providing everything from pizza and burgers to gelato and cookies.

Cincinnati food trucks are a sought after addition to any local event and many Cincinnatians have come to appreciate when a few of the area’s food trucks come together to serve the City Flea, the downtown or OTR lunch rush, the late night bar crowd, area breweries and many local festivals. This Saturday, however, the food trucks themselves will take center stage at the second Cincinnati Street Food Festival in Walnut Hills.

The Cincinnati Street Food Festival will be the largest gathering of food trucks in the area, with 17 food trucks and street vendors lining McMillan Street between Hemlock and Chatham. Hosted by the WHRF, this free event will also have live music from local bands, beer from Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, and fun for the whole family.

The Street Food Festival is just one piece of the WHRF’s focused efforts on the McMillan Street corridor. These efforts include events like the Five Points Beirgarten, strategic property acquisition, demolition, and stabilization as well as transportation and development initiatives like form-based code and last years two-way conversions of McMillan and Taft. Additionally, there are greater plans in the works with the successful stabilization of the Firehouse and the adjoining building completed earlier this year.

“This is the beginning of Phase One of the redevelopment of Peeble’s Corner. Over the next 12-18 months you will begin to see a focus by the WHRF in the Copelen to Gilbert section of McMillan.” Wright told UrbanCincy, “This small stretch will be our first real place making opportunity.”

Construction is slated to begin this week with completion of the buildings by February. Wright stated he has heard rumors of interest from one of the many food truck vendors in opening a brick and mortar store in one of the rehabbed buildings but no final plans have been disclosed regarding which one it will be.

The festival will give people a chance to appreciate Cincinnati’s many diverse food trucks, meet-up with friends and neighbors, rediscover one of Cincinnati’s historic neighborhoods and check out some of the initial changes happening in the area.

For a full list of the available food, beer and entertainment offerings, visit

Or, if you really can’t wait, visit the Cincinnati Food Truck Association to find where your favorite food trucks are located on a day to day basis.