In 1987, Austrian-native Rudi Skucek conceived a Christkindl Market for Mifflinburg. Upon retirement he and his family moved back to his wife's hometownRudi in Pennsylvania. At that time the local Main Street organization searched for a town event that would be uplifting, celebrate the German heritage of the area, and promote the small town of Mifflinburg.
It took Rudi and his wife, Joannah, a year to convince the community that an outdoor event such as the traditional German Christkindl Market could be conceivable in cold December. The next hurtle was to inform everyone about the significance of such a market. Rudi gave slide presentations of German Markets to children in local schools, to service clubs, to the Borough Council and other organizations. Although he had an engaging and convincing personality, warmth-loving Americans found it hard to believe that anyone would come to an outdoor market lined with huts in cold and snowy weather conditions. And what vendors would freeze for three days while trying to promote their products!
Finally, twenty huts were built, the street was closed, and the first Market began in 1988. Other bazaars and Christmas Markets existed in several US communities, but none completely outdoors. Mifflinburg led the tradition, and today claims to be the oldest outdoor Market in the US.
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