For 111years German immigrants, their descendants and friends have been celebrating their heritage with a Festival. Known variously as German Day, German Summer Fest, or Summer Fest to distinguish it from the many “October Fests”, it was decided a few years ago to name it German Fest.
The venue for the Fest also changed with time. This writer recalls attending those held at Scheutzen Park in Irondequoit as a child with his parents and on one occasion getting lost in the crowd. A sympathetic woman took me to the stage where an announcement was made about a lost little boy.
Needless to say it was a happy moment for all when my tearful mother rushed to the stage to claim me.
Other venues were Elser’s Grove in Gates, the Dome Arena in Henrietta, the Webster Fireman’s field, and then our own property donated by Karl Fuch’s at Gates Memorial Park. Logistics became difficult there as the attendance grew, so the Fest site for recent years has been the Spencerport Firemen,s field where we were we welcomed by the Village administration and many new participants. The Fest is most authentic since the management, preparation and work is all volunteer, drawn from the 11 individual clubs that constitute the Federation of German American Societies Inc. Thankfully we are joined by many friends who also volunteer to help and have fun with us. On Wednesday of Fest week 10, 5 gallon buckets of Sauerkraut is cooked, on Thursday 700 pounds of Colby’s potatoes are transformed into German Potato Salad by a cadre of knife wielding women and a man or two- if they slice them properly. Several ladies are the mixologists, who rarely give out the recipe.
Supporting the salad and sauerkraut are typical German Festival meat items such as bratwurst, bauern wurst, hot dogs and hamburgers. Beverages of most types are also available, as well as a variety of desserts and coffee.
After an absence of several years the “Glueckshafen” will return. This is rack of almost 100 items that are numbered and can be won by purchasing small rolled up pieces of paper that may have a number on them. Children of all ages enjoy this. People can also demonstrate their skill at the beer slide, and win some nice prizes. This is a shuffleboard type game where the player slides a beer stein attempting to have it stop on the target near the other end. We are featuring a newly crafted and decorated slide replacing the original. A beer stein holding contest is also planned
Great music, dancing and German folk dancing presentations will entertain the festgoers. We look forward to welcoming all attendees.