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The Lederhosen Were Hung by the Chimney With Care 

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Holidayfest 2006, which kicks off in Akron today, features fireworks, shopping, and an ice-skating rink. And there's a blitzkrieg of Germanic events — from vendors selling handcrafted ornaments to cooks preparing bratwurst. "We have one of the best sister-city relationships in the world with Chemnitz, Germany," says organizer Elizabeth Sheeler. "That's well expressed here." That's especially evident in the Chriskindl Market, where a dozen cottages sell everything from wooden toys to hot mulled wine. Ohio's largest temporary ice rink also opens today, with a performance by the Chemnitz skating team — the group that gave us smokin'-hot Olympian Katarina Witt back in the day. "There is so much going on here," says Sheeler. "We're the epicenter of fun."
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