I'd love to see a European-style Christmas Market downtown in the future. Chicago's is a huge tourist draw. For those who haven't experienced one, they are pop-up outdoor markets with decorated stalls, food trucks, and entertainment. Because of the lighting and festive atmosphere, they are mostly enjoyed after sunset. I believe adult beverages like German beer and spiced wine are also served :)
Specifically, I would love to see a short-term market pop up in the plaza near the Maritime Museum. There is potential for a nautical-themed Christmas mart. It could also pop up in conjuntion with the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship (11:30 on Saturday Dec. 2nd, by the way, and well worth visiting because it's so darn awesome).
Part of the charm and what differentiates Christkindlmarkts from other street-level sales ventures is the Alpine/gingerbread-themed market stalls. In our case we could encourage the nautical look. A unique fair like this would lead to nationwide publicity. And it would be a fun way to get some retail/entertainment vibe, even if short-lived, on that bank of the river.
I wonder if the good folks who run Oak Shade Grove have ever thought about sponsoring this kind of thing off their own property.