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Christkindlmarket Is Virtual This Year Due To Pandemic, But Avondale Restaurateur Is Bringing Back Some Of The Joy

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois reported another 7,538 coronavirus cases Wednesday, making for eight days in a row with at least 6,000 new cases.

Nationwide, we keep setting or breaking records. On Wednesday alone, there were more than 102,000 cases reported in the U.S. and the nationwide seven-day average is more than 86,000.

With numbers like those, large gatherings are being canceled one after the other - like the beloved Christkindlmarket – which will have a virtual component this year, but will not be held in Daley Plaza as usual.

But as CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, one man is taking on the responsibility of keeping the tradition going.

For years, the owner of the DMen Tap, 2849 W. Belmont Ave., was part of the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. But with that event happening virtually now, he has plans to turn a little piece of Avondale into what he calls The Christmas Market Pop-Up.

For many, Christkindlmarket – which also in an average year has an event in Wrigleyville - is a tradition that marks the season.

But 2020 changed all that. The in-person experience was canceled because of the pandemic.

"A lot of people have their own stories about the market," said DMen Tap owner Shawn Podgurski.

And those were stories and experiences that Podgurski just couldn't let it go.

"It's like being in Santa's workshop," he said.

The owner of the DMen Tap has been a part of Christkindlmarket for years.

"It's a lot of hard work, but it's really worth it," he said. "It's really fun."

And now, with Christkindlmarket's blessing, Podgurski said, "We're going to have bratwursts, schnitzel, flavored pretzels."

He's making plans to bring a little holy jolly to the city's Northwest Side safely - mugs and all. The event will use the DMen Tap's food truck and a space outside.

"It's going to start on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and run all the way to Christmas Eve," Podgurski said.

His plans for the Christmas Market Pop-Up are keeping the tradition alive and the melted cheese flowing - with a little Christmas wish of his own.

"Things are tough," Podgurski said.

With the second indoor restaurant shutdown already hurting business, he said it is worse than the first time.

The hope is this plan helps.

"We've been left hanging a little bit and hustling a little bit harder," Podgurski said.

Because in 2020, he says can use all the safe, socially distanced holiday cheer we can get.

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