SPARTA, NJ - More than 100 people gathered in the main ballroom of the Lake Mohawk Country Club for the annual German Christmas Market luncheon.  Present were volunteers, sponsors and recipients of the charitable donations made by the German Christmas Market committee.

The market was larger than ever as were the disbursements to area organizations.  This year more than $40,000 was distributed to 20 area organizations and schools.  The Christmas Market organizers also donated $5,500 in space for non-profit organizations.

"It was always our dream to go the whole length of the boardwalk and last year we did it," Organizer Helana Bould said.  "Every year I stand up here and say it was a record year and this year it really was."

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Vendors and entertainment filled every space in the country club building and stalls stretched from White Deer Plaza past Beach 1 to the end of the boardwalk.  Bould also reported the use of the Park and Ride has "really taken off," as attendees realize how much easier it is to avoid the congestion of the plaza.

"As we continue to grow, our expenses grow as well," Bould said pointing to a slide that showed 2014 expenses were $40,000, 2015 were $65,000 and 2016 $95,000.  Much of the additional expenses were due to additional electrical panels and four electricians that had to be on site before, during and after the market. 

Bould said they would continue to look for additional sponsors to help defray the cost of running the Christmas market as well as raising additional revenue.  Various parts of the Christmas market could be sponsored such as the petting zoo or park and ride, suggested Bould.  They will be seeking 501C3 status and grants as well as they look to the future. 

The volunteer members of the organizing committee were introduced.  Sponsors were also recognized.  Dancers from the Lenape Valley Regional High School German program performed three dances, dressed in traditional German garb. 

Award recipients:

  • Kiwani's $1,500
  • First Book $1,500
  • Birth Haven $2,000
  • Manna House $2,000
  • Samaritan Inn $2,000
  • Ginnie's House $2,000
  • Meals on Wheels $2,000
  • Connect for the Community $2,000
  • Sussex County Arts Council $2,000
  • United Way of Sussex County $3,700
  • Partnership for Social Services $2,000
  • Sojihuggles Children's Foundation $1,5000
  • Sparta Board of Education German Language Department $2,000
  • DASI (Domestic Abuse Services Inc) $2,000
  • Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation $2,000
  • First Presbyterian Church of Sparta Food Bank $3,700
  • Lenape Valley Regional High School German Language Department $1,500
  • Sparta Elks Lodge $1,500
  • Northern New Jersey Veterans  Memorial Cemetery $1,500
  • Sussex County Technical School Culinary Arts Department $2,00

Organizations who received in-kind donations:

  • Boy Scout Troop 82
  • German Language School of Morris County
  • Ginnie's House
  • Jefferson Sparta Rotary
  • NORWESCAP
  • SCARC
  • Sojihuggles Children's Foundation
  • Sparta Kiwanis
  • St. Kateri Squires

Bould talked about the accolades earned by the market.  The Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market was New Jersey's largest Christmas Market and listed in Top 10 things to do in New Jersey  by NJ.com and the Star Ledger.  The Sussex County Chamber of Commerce gave the market a Philanthropic Award in 2015.  The Sparta event was also recommended by the German Consulate's website. 

In its 15th year, the Sparta market is the only one in the United States that is completely run by volunteers and raises money for local charities, Bolls said.

Bould announced the hours for the 2017 market will be extended for Lake Mohawk Country Club members.  On Friday, December 1 club members and their guests will be able to visit the market from noon until 9 p.m.  It will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, Dec 2 and 3.

Major sponsors were thanked at the event as well.  Some of these include Eastern Propane and the Nicholson Family, Newton Medical Center, Bayer HealthCare, CP Professionals, Lakeland Bank and Marine Max, Sparta Township, Lake Mohawk Country Club, ThorLabs, Kelly and Ward, Anderson Kelly, Salerno Duane Infinity of Denville, Reinauer transportation, LMCC Beach 4, Onore. 

Other local businesses donated services including Rev it Up, Sparta Kiwanis, Home Depot of Newton, Donner Construction and Lake House Cafe. 

"Since the market was conceived 15 years ago, it has donated over $235,000 back to the local community," Bould said.