A Holiday Season for the Ages in Carmel, Indiana
It is remarkable to think that the holidays are nearly upon us. Just as 2020 seemed to last an eternity, 2021 has gone by ever so quickly. And now, the Carmel community is gearing up for what will be a holiday season for the ages. With the return of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, the expansive list of performers coming to the Center for the Performing Arts and Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael, the hotel itself, and the restaurants and businesses located at Carmel City Center, all create the synergy that the City of Carmel’s administration had envisioned long before the ice rink and renowned holiday market debuted at Carter Green.
We spoke with a few of the stakeholders about what they anticipate for this season with regard to guest experiences and how each of these entities will contribute to an overall ambiance of holiday pleasures and activities that are extraordinary. There is truly something for everybody, so be sure to make Carmel your destination for the holidays this season!
Carmel Christkindlmarkt Returns to Carter Green
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt has become the premier holiday offering in Indiana, attracting well over half a million people since the opening. An extensive poll by USA Today’s 10BEST travel media group has named Carmel Christkindlmarkt the No. 1 winner in the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for Best Holiday Market. In addition, the market received the distinction of being the top Christmas market in the state of Indiana by Taste of Home Magazine in 2017.
After cancelling last year’s Christkindlmarkt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market will be back beginning on Nov. 20 and running through Dec. 24. More than 40 vendors will sell a variety of German food and drink, handmade gifts, artisan crafts and more at the 2021 Carmel Christkindlmarkt.
“There are so many wonderful things happening at the market,” CEO and Market Master Maria Murphy shared. “Of course, there’s the pavilion, and it’s going to be amazing. It’s open air and COVID-19-friendly and will be a place where people can come to listen to a polka band and other entertainment throughout the market and through March to watch the ice sculpting and all the things that will take place at Carter Green—post market.”
Murphy continued, “Another thing that I think is going to be really cool this year is Actor’s Theatre of Indiana will be performing their ‘Holiday Revue’ on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the market. It is free admission, and they will be performing on the stage in the brand-new pavilion.”
In addition to a myriad of new additions and an array of performances that will be offered at this year’s market, Murphy shared that there will be a special Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) service on Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the market. “There will be a lighting of a giant menorah, and there will be a Chanukah celebration on the stage. We’ll so some programming of Chanukah music around the lighting of the menorah as well.”
For hours of operation, a complete list of vendors, activities and performances, and tickets to The Ice at Carter Green, visit carmelchristkindlmarkt.com.
The Center for the Performing Arts’ Exceptional Holiday Season
The Center’s CEO/President Jeff McDermott shared his thoughts on the holiday synergy that is being created literally in the Center’s front lawn.
“I think what’s happening here is exactly what our city leadership envisioned would happen,” McDermott stated. “They [city leadership] wanted the Center and this campus to really be a central hub and meeting place where people can celebrate all that is great about this community.”
McDermott continued, “The Carmel Farmers Market and Carmel Christkindlmarkt bring in hundreds of thousands of people to our campus each year, and those people come here and explore the venues. They look at our offerings and buy tickets to shows. And now, with the Hotel Carmichael here and all that it has to offer, it truly does make [Carmel] a destination and getaway opportunity. The Center has six resident companies and three venues, and there are things going on at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael as well. Can you imagine a greater celebration of life, music and art? I think it’s a credit to the city leadership and a credit to this community for supporting all of it. It is also a credit to the Hotel Carmichael, the Christkindlmarkt, the Center and its resident companies, the Great American Songbook Foundation and the Carmel Farmers Market for all working in harmony to make all this happen.”
For tickets and a complete list of performances, visit thecenterpresents.org.
The Hotel Carmichael and Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael Prepare to Shine
Hotel Carmichael’s General Manager Jamie Hopwood is excited for a holiday season for the hotel and its guests—especially since the Christkindlmarkt was closed due to the pandemic during the hotel’s inaugural holiday season.
“From a winter wonderland viewpoint, I think the hotel and Christkindlmarkt experience is a perfect place for a weekday getaway–not just a weekend getaway,” Hopwood stated. “I think midweek will be a really good time for families to have people come and visit where it might not be as busy as the weekends and people will be able to enjoy all that Carmel has to offer during the week.”
Hopwood continued, “From a sales standpoint, we have quite a few holiday parties booked, and it’s definitely going to be the most amazing place to have a holiday party or smaller, more intimate holiday meal with a show here [at Hotel Carmichael] with Christkindlmarkt happening right outside.”
Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael’s Cabaret and Events Operations Manager Kelley Nichols added, “We are excited for the demographics that will be coming to the Christkindlmarkt this year and by the number of people that it will bring. We are planning on doing more shows during the week—specifically, the second and third weeks in December—to grab those customers. We’re very excited for that!”
For reservations and more information on Hotel Carmichael, visit hotelcarmichael.com, and for tickets and a complete list of performances at Feinstein’s, visit feinsteinshc.com.
The Cake Bake Shop Brings Its Magic to City Center
If you haven’t experienced the holidays at The Cake Bake Shop at City Center in Carmel, you haven’t truly experienced the splendor of the holidays. In addition to her renowned cakes and delectable dishes, restaurateur Gwendolyn Rogers’ holiday decor is iconic in and of itself. From animated polar bears to exquisite Christmas trees and swags that don the interior of the restaurant, to the splendorous exterior decor—Rogers’ and her staff add a special ingredient to the mix that is the epicenter of holidays in Carmel.
“Carmel City Center was the perfect spot for my second location,” Rogers said. “It was fairly new construction at the time, which allowed me to build my shop from the ground up. I wanted to include all the wonderful design components that I couldn’t add into my Broad Ripple Village shop due to its small size. What makes my second location so incredible is the people. I will be forever grateful to Bruce and Denise Cordingley. They are the ones that convinced me to open in Carmel City Center. It is the wonderful guests and other shops that create the ‘synergy.’ We are a happy place to visit, and everyone who comes here is celebrating all the good things in life. Good food, good music, culture, art, beauty, magic and most of all your family, friends and loved ones. It is an honor to be a part of.”
For reservations and more information on Cake Bake, visit thecakebakeshop.com.