Christmas Market offers a taste of Germany in Durham

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 04:35 PM

The clouds parted Saturday afternoon as the band played “You Are My Sunshine” at the annual Christmas Market at Guglhupf, a German-themed bakery on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.

The schnitzels and beer flowed freely as more than 1,000 people opted for a taste of Germany in Durham.

“I love this place,” Greg Johnson of Wake Forest said as he sat with his beloved birddog, Bella. “It’s nice, German-American cuisine.”

Johnson said he drives from his home to Guglhupf twice a month to get his German-food fix.

Restaurant owner Claudia Cooper said Christmas Market is a big tradition in Germany, where she lived until age 17. She wanted to bring some of that to Durham.

This is the fourth year for the market, which featured artwork, food, face-painting and music from the Bulltown Strutters, a Durham band inspired by New Orleans street bands.

“It’s a good party,” Cooper said. “There’s really nothing like it in this country.”

Self-trained artist Libby Lynn brought some of her work to the party. She specializes in encaustic painting, which combines beeswax, tree sap and pigment.

“It’s weird and impossible to control,” Lynn, 39, said. “I’m a control freak, so it’s always a challenge.”

In an earlier life, Lynn, originally from Colorado, worked in advertising. “I remember hovering over graphic designers, thinking I would like to learn about art. I taught myself.”

Lynn said encaustic painting is more fulfilling than advertising work. “It’s very versatile, requires a lot of hands-on work and it smells like honey,” she said.

Face painter Cassandra Germano was busy working on 10-year-old Michael DeGroat as a crowd watched.

“I wanted to get my face painted,” Michael said. “She did a really nice job, and I like it. It’s really artistic.”

His mother, Iris Pohl, bought a strawberry tart and said she enjoyed the band.

Caitlin Cavanaugh drove from Raleigh for the event, and was glad she did. She picked up assorted baked goods and left satisfied.

“This is a great,” she said. “I really liked the band. And there’s a lot of little kids dancing. It’s been a nice time.”