ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud community huddled together around heat lamps to stay warm during the 4th Annual Weihnachtsmarkt.

Hundreds came out Thursday night to the traditional German Christmas market. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says the event is a way to embrace German heritage as well as the winter season.

The event features traditional German food such as brats and sauerkraut, gingerbread, sugar cookies and Gluhwein, a hot spiced wine.

Arts and crafts, music and other holiday treats can also be found at the Weihnachtsmarkt.

Kleis says in years past the event has never been solely outdoors.

"Now that we have this beautiful brand new ramp here, next to the River's Edge Convention Center, we thought we would do it more of traditional German-Austrian way and that is completely outside."

As a way to come together and embrace St. Cloud's sister city, St. Cloud decided to host the first German Christmas market four-years ago.

"So four years ago in honor of our sister city in Spalt, Germany, we thought why not have a winter heritage event. So we tired it and it was a great success that first year and each year it has gotten bigger and better."

Weihnachtsmarkt was the kick off to many winter festivities this weekend. To see more events click the link below.

2016 Weihnachtsmarkt (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)