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Allie Oelschlager, 11, views handmade items from Ukraine and Russia at Audrey's Gifts from Afar booth at the Denver Christkindl Market at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. The annual authentic German and European holiday traditional market is hosted by the German American Chamber of Commerce and features local and international vendors. Due to COVID-19 regulations masks are required and social distancing applies. Admission is free and entering the market will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, reservations are not available. The market opened on Nov. 20th and runs through Dec. 23rd. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

The 21st annual Denver Christkindl Market is returning to the city this week, with the holiday festivities set to kick off Friday and last through Dec. 23.

The market brings German and European holiday traditions to Denver, featuring more than 35 local and international small business vendors. The event also has live German entertainment like polka music, traditional dances, holiday hymns and more.

An opening celebration is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park, including the ceremonial tapping of the first keg of Prost Bier.

“The Denver Christkindl Market recreates the joy of strolling a European village square during the holidays,” Colorado’s German American Chamber of Commerce, which runs the event, said in a statement. “Best of all, no international passport is required!”

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Last year, the Christkindl Market was one of Denver’s only holiday celebrations not canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, instead opting to move from Skyline Park to a 60,000-square-foot section of Civic Center Park to allow for social distancing.

This year, the market will once again take place in Civic Center Park. The Chamber of Commerce said it is anticipating over 150,000 attendees through the end of December. 

The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday. After Dec. 17, the market will open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Theme days include Krampus Nacht, St. Nicolaus Day, Ugly Sweater Night, '70s and '80s Nights and Canine Christmas. For a full entertainment schedule, visit ChristkindlmarketDenver.com.