ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 4, 2015) — “Was ist los in Franken?” details off-post community events and activities occurring throughout Lower, Upper and Middle Franconia.
Long Night of Culture and Shopping – Ansbach
Ansbach is hosting an extended shopping night dotted with cultural events on Saturday, Dec. 5, downtown and in the Brücken-Center. Highlights of the “Polarnacht” include reindeer, a polar express, polar lights, a snow bar and elves; St. Nikolaus carries presents and vouchers in his sack which he will spread among the visitors. The opening hours of stores will be extended until 11 p.m.; to learn more, go to Polarnacht Ansbach
Christmas Pottery Market
Pottery fans can look forward to the pottery Christmas market in Schloss Thurnau, located along Autobahn A70 between Bamberg and Bayreuth, on Dec. 4 through 6. Pottery shops from all over exhibit and sell their work, while visitors can enjoy locally produced food and beverages. Opening hours are Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission is free. To learn more, visit Weihnachtstöpfermarkt
St. Nikolaus Day
Children look forward to a visit by St. Nikolaus in early December; the Saint usually appears in the Eastern Rite vestments of a bishop, and carries a ceremonial staff. He stops by the homes of children on the eve of Dec. 6 and places oranges, nuts, candy, and sometimes even small presents into the shined boots they have placed outside.
Basketball in Ansbach
The Ansbach Piranhas basketball team is playing against Baskets Vilsbiburg on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sporthalle (Gym) of the Theresiengymnasium (Schreibmüllerstraße 10, Ansbach). To learn more about the team, check out their Facebook site at Ansbach Piranhas
Romantic Christmas Market in Anwanden, Gut Wolfgangshof
More than 100 crafters and vendors display their products in rustic huts, a cow stable, a grain hall or in a hay attic at the Christmas market in Gut Wolfgangshof (Weitersdorfer Str. 22) in Anwanden, a little town between Nürnberg and Ansbach. The market is open on Dec. 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20. Opening hours are Fridays 3 – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.; admission prices vary from 5 euros for adults to 1 euro for children up to 15 years; youngsters under six enter for free. To learn more about the market, go to Gut Wolfgangshof
Museumsweihnacht Bad Windsheim
The open air museum in Bad Windsheim (Eisweiherweg 1) is celebrating Christmas at the museum on Sunday, Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. with music, caroling, trombone concert, coffee, Glühwein, cake and holiday decorations. To learn more, go to www.freilandmuseum.de
Open House at the Exotic Animal Resort in Ansbach
The mini zoo for rescued tigers and other exotic animals in Ansbach-Wallersdorf is hosting their monthly open house on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. Guided tours take place every full hour, tiger feeding time is 5 p.m. in the tiger house. Visitors will be well taken care of with warm beverages, bratwurst and waffle; also for sale will be their calendar for 2016. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. To learn more, visit Open House
Advent in Franconian farm houses – Bad Windsheim
The open air museum Bad Windsheim features “Advent in fränkischen Bauernstuben” (Advent in Franconian farm houses) on the advent Sundays before Christmas (Dec. 6 and 13), from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Experience holiday mood with traditional music, singing, storytelling, Lebkuchen, coffee and Glühwein. Christmas tree decorations, nativity scenes, wreaths and hand-knitted wool products can be bought on site. To learn more about the museum and its events, go to Fränkisches Freilandmuseum
Lantern Parade in Nürnberg
A traditional lantern parade with German school kids, a tradition since 1948, takes place on Thursday, Dec. 10, downtown Nürnberg. More than 1400 students of all ages assemble around 6 p.m. near the Fleischbrücke and the Hauptmarkt to march together past the Christkindlesmarkt uphill to the castle, where a musical performance of the Christmas story concludes the event. The streets are lined with parents and other audience, as the parade going uphill is quite spectacular. To learn more, visit Lichterzug Nürnberg
Christmas Bash in Geiselwind
Heavy Metal bands are performing at another kind of Christmas event in Geiselwind on the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12. The indoor event starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and ends sometime after midnight on Saturday. To learn more, visit Christmas Bash
Sternlesmarkt in Wolframs-Eschenbach
The traditional Sternlesmarkt in Wolframs-Eschenbach, a small regional Christmas market, takes place on Dec. 12 and 13. The market is open 3 through 9 p.m. on Saturday and 1 through 7 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more, visit Wolframs-Eschenbach
The Christmas market in Neuendettelsau takes place on Sternplatz on Dec. 12 and 13. The mayor opens the market on Saturday at 3 p.m. with a children’s choir and the Christkind. Many volunteers are offering handmade items, like knitted clothing, doll outfits, arts and crafts. Food and beverages will be available as well.
Forest Christmas in Schweinfurt
The wild animal resort “Wildpark an den Eichen” in Schweinfurt is hosting a Christmas event in their park for young and old on Dec. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. Children can visit the animals in their enclosed areas and St. Nikolaus will be there to read stories. Parking is available on the park’s parking lot (Albin-Kitzinger-Straße, Schweinfurt); admission is free. To learn more, visit Waldweihnacht
Windsbacher Knabenchor in Ansbach
The famous boys’ choir from Windsbach, the “Windsbacher Knabenchor,” performs a Christmas concert at the St. Gumbertuskirche (Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Platz 3) in Ansbach on Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The choir presents the Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach together with an orchestra. To learn more, visit Theater Ansbach
Nativity Scenes in Handwerkerhof Nürnberg
Old Nürnberg crafts tradition can be admired in the Nürnberger Handwerkerhof (Königstor, next to the big tower across from the Hauptbahnhof) through Dec. 30 when the nativity scene exhibition is once again opened for the season. Small stores and craft shops offer toys, decorations and much more, while typical Franconian restaurants open their doors to the hungry visitors. The Handwerkerhof is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., the stores open 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Admission to the exhibition is free. To learn more, go to Handwerkerhof
Ice Rink in Gunzenhausen
Gunzenhausen has put up an ice skating rink on the Marktplatz; highlights include an ice disco and “Eisstockschiessen,” Bavarian curling. The ice rink is open until Jan. 6; to learn more, go to Eisbahn Gunzenhausen
Erlangen on Ice
The public ice skating rink on Marktplatz (between Paulibrunnen and Palais Stutterheim) in Erlangen, located near the Christmas market, is open daily until Dec. 26. Skates are for rent for 3 euros, admission is free. Opening hours are Monday through Friday 2 – 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Dec. 24 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about Erlangen Christmas activities, go to http://www.erlangen-marketing.de
Ansbach Christmas Market
The traditional Ansbach Christmas market is located downtown on Martin-Luther-Platz. It is open daily until Dec. 23; the booths and stands sell their goods daily Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. A crafts exhibition in the Stadthaus (first floor, co-located with the tourist information office) features handmade Christmas decorations and much more. The market closes at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve. For more details, including an event program and a site map, go to Weihnachtsmarkt Ansbach
Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg
Every year, Germany’s most famous Christmas Market opens its stalls for visitors from all over the world, right in the middle of the city, on Nürnberg Main Market Square. About 180 wooden stalls, decorated with red-and-white cloth, hold the traditional goods: Nürnberger Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Früchtebrot (fruit loaves), bakery goods and sweets, typical Christmas articles such as Christmas tree angels, cribs, tree ornaments and candles, toys as well as arts and crafts products. The Zwetschgenmännla (plum people), little figures made from prunes, make a popular souvenir. Refreshments include, of course, Nürnberger Bratwurst and Glühwein (mugs of hot mulled wine).
Using public transportation is always recommended, especially on opening day. The market is about ten minutes by foot downhill from the Hauptbahnhof (main train station). It is open daily 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., finally closing at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Detailed information in English can be found at Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg
Kinderweihnacht – Nürnberg
The Kinderweihnacht, a special Christmas market for children with historical carousels, Ferris wheel, train, glass and candle workshops and Christmas bakery, is located on Hans-Sachs-Platz, right around the corner of the famous Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt. Opening times are daily 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. until Dec. 24 (closes at 2 p.m.). To learn more, go to Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg
The “Reiterlesmarkt” of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Once a year, the medieval town of Rothenburg is transformed into a winter wonderland during the annual Reiterlesmarkt; this wonderful Christmas market has been the highlight of the festive Christmas season in Rothenburg since the 15th century. Today the narrow and winding streets and the squares around the Town Hall, its archways and the market square are still lined with stalls where one can find almost anything associated with a German Christmas market: pastries, white mulled wine and handcrafted decorations.
Numerous cultural events are held in conjunction with the market. Daily events include a guided tour starting at 2 p.m. at the market square, and a visit by the Pelzmärtel (German Santa) at 4:30 p.m. Every day (starting at Dec. 1) a new window of the “advent calendar” on the town hall is opened at 5 p.m.; a concert by a brass band follows at 5:30 p.m.
The Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt is open through Dec.23; opening hours are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. For further information about the Rothenburg market contact the Rothenburg Tourismus Service on Marktplatz 2 at 09861-404-800 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at Tourismus Rothenburg
Medieval Christmas Market in Fürth
The medieval Christmas market in Fürth takes place at the Freiheit through Dec. 23; it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers crafts and performances, campfires, jugglers, fire artists and much more. To learn more, visit Mittelaltermarkt Fürth
Advent in the Nürnberg Zoo
Every Advent weekend and Christmas Eve visitors at the Nürnberg Zoo can see a live nativity scene with sheep and donkey, Mary, Josef and shepherds between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; a small advents market offers regional products and Glühwein, Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic) and grilled sausages.
A lantern parade for children starts at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 at the main entrance (Adults pay 4 euros admission, children enter for free).
A “Forest Christmas Service” is held on Sunday, Dec. 20 at the main entrance at 4 p.m.; admission is free.
The Nürnberger Tiergarten is located on Am Tiergarten 30 and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; to learn more, go to Tiergarten Nürnberg
Sleep-over at the Nürnberg Zoo
Children between 8 and 12 years can roll out their sleeping bag in front of the panorama windows and watch dolphins, manatees and sea lions as they go to sleep. The night at the zoo (including food) costs 70 euros; it starts at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 10 a.m. the next morning. To learn more, go to Tiergarten overnight