25th annual GermanFest schedule announced

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The Silbertaler Trio will return to GermanFest this year, playing traditional Austrian music called Kammer Musik on Austrian Diatonic accordions, guitar, and harp. For a full schedule of events, visit www.guttenbergiowa.net. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

By Molly Moser

Plans are being finalized for Guttenberg’s 25th, annual GermanFest celebration, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26. With new committee members at the helm, participants can look forward to beloved traditions alongside new amusements. 

“In honor of the 25th anniversary of GermanFest, our committee has been hard at work planning some fresh activities, while continuing the spirit of the event,” says GD&T Director Emily Moser. “After many successful years, previous event organizers entrusted the festival to a group of capable volunteers, who are excited to take on the challenge.” 

Saturday’s celebration kicks off with a special 25th anniversary parade through the open air market to the biergarten, where Mayor Russ Loven will welcome festival-goers and Guttenberg’s very own German Band will perform. The parade will feature both German and American flags, the German Band, and fairy tale characters. The community is welcome to participate in the parade by  donning traditional dress, riding on a float for first generation German immigrants, entering their Volks-wagons, or walking their 'German' dogs (either German breeds or dressed in German costume).

Another new activity is the first annual ‘kraut-off’ on Sept. 26. Contestants will be judged by popular vote, and the winner will receive a prize crock. There is no entry fee and no advance registration for this contest, but interested parties should start dusting off family recipes now to have their kraut ready in time. 

This year’s entertainment schedule includes obstacle courses for children and adults, as well as adult beer games taking place in the biergarten between musical acts. The Fever River Puppeteers of Hazel Green will perform twice on Saturday in the park, sponsored by the Guttenberg Public Library.  There will be a sandbox for young children, a barrel train, and characters from traditional German fairytales will be in attendance. Chess boards will be set up for visitors to play at their leisure, and decks of cards will be available for guests to play euchre, a game introduced to the U.S. by early German settlers in the Midwest. 

The ever-entertaining wiener dog dash will take place this year supplemented by a dog show. Friendly dogs of all breeds over six months old are invited to participate in a show of their agility, obedience, and costuming. Fixed-length leashes and proof of up-to-date vaccinations are required for participation. Registration for the dash and dog show will take place prior to each event on Saturday in the information tent, and there will be prizes awarded in both events.

The open-air market continues this year, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday on the south 500 block of River Park Drive. Vendor forms are being accepted through Sept. 18 for arts, crafts, and antique vendors.  New booths on the block will feature pottery and wheel throwing demonstrations, cleaning products, stained glass work, and more. 

Organizers welcome the return of Scratch Curbside, a Cedar Falls based bakery featuring decadent cupcakes that sold like hotcakes last year. Also available to entertain the tastebuds will be a variety of gourmet popcorns, fried cheese, cotton candy and other carnival foods, as well as brats, a pork roast, and breakfast served by Clayton Ridge seniors.

A highlight of the Saturday celebration continues this year with a homebrew tasting featuring stout, pale ale, pilsner, and wheat beer. The tasting will be held from 12 noon until 2 p.m. on the 600 south block of River Park Drive. Festival-goers are asked to make a free will donation for the peoples choice ballot. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners. “Homebrewers are invited to enter the contest for free and can enter as many brews as they want,” say organizers. 

Amateur beermakers are encouraged to register by Monday, Sept. 21. Download an entry form at www.guttenbergiowa.net, or request one by email and return it to  Dr. Andy Smith, who underwrites the contest and is also a brewer, at doctor.andrew.smith@gmail.com or by mail to Dr. Andy Smith, 127 Acre St., Guttenberg, IA 52052. 

PromiseLand Winery will unveil a special new blend in honor of the 25th annual GermanFest at 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening, when guests will be among the first to taste and purchase the new wine. The locally-vinted beverage will be for sale by the glass or by the bottle with a commemorative festival logo throughout the weekend in the biergarten.

Also available in the biergarten will be German beers Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Schell Oktoberfest, and Sam Adams Oktoberfest, along with Mikes Hard Lemonade, Palm Breeze, and Coors Light. Live music in the tent begins Friday night with Brian Brueggen & the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen, a six piece polka band. Saturday performers will be the Guttenberg German Band, Lyle Beaver, the Silbertaler Trio, Side Project and Bruce Bryant as Carpe Diem. The Buzz Berries, back by popular demand, close the festival on Saturday night with a performance from 7-11 p.m. 

Moser notes Brown’s Sales and Leasing, Fidelity Bank & Trust, and Peoples State Bank as major sponsors for the 25th anniversary event. For more information and a full event schedule, visit www.guttenbergiowa.net and look for feature stories in upcoming issues of The Guttenberg Press.

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