Sienna Palumbo, 7, is very excited to feed the animals and ride the horses at the German Market this past weekend. (Photo provided).
By Shannon Kuratli Sparta - White Deer Plaza in Lake Mohawk and the entire length of the Lake Mohawk Country Club boardwalk transformed into a German Christmas Market on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. The event is a much-loved local tradition, having become known far outside of Sparta. It was started in 2001 by volunteers as a way to provide for local charities. Listed as one of the top 10 holiday events in New Jersey, crowds have grown so large that time organizers expanded to a second location, with vendors at the Police Athletic League (PAL) building near the Sparta Train Station. Free parking and a $2 shuttle bus, with children riding free, enabled attendees to take partake in both locations. Asked where he and his family parked for the event, Tim, of Vernon, jokingly replied, "Roxbury." Parking and crowd size seemed a small matter, however, amid the aroma of fresh baked goods, roasted nuts, German bratwurst, fresh donuts, and funnel cakes. Shoppers were delighted by the variety of vendors, and shop owners were just as delighted by their sales. Emma Matsinger of Sparta's Thread and Butter shop, which features homemade hair and body products, said, "These sales are absolutely amazing. Better even than last year." Sister Shop, of Sparta, which sells local-themed homegoods, said sales were "phenominal," and their only wish was that they had even more product to sell. Many viewed the crowds as part of the fun and noted that it highlights how much people appreciate the German Market. With holiday music overhead and groups raising their glasses of German beer in continuous toasts, many were already looking forward to next year. Frank, a German-American who is a longtime Sparta resident, raised his glass and said, "Bis nächstes Jar," which translates to a warm farewell of "until next year."