18 November, 2014


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Another Successful Year Celebrating German-Swiss Culture at the German-American Festival

Toledo – The German-American Festival (GAF) again proved why it is Northwest Ohio’s largest festival, as more than 34,000 people heeded the call to “Bring a Guest and Come to the Fest” Aug. 23-25.

“We were more than pleased with the size of the crowds at this year’s festival,” said Chairman Tim Pecsenye. Food was consumed in impressive quantities at the festival. Over 5 and half tons of potatoes were used to make handmade potato pancakes, hand-cut Pommes Frites (French Fries) and 4,500 pounds of homemade German potato salad. Guests enjoyed gallons of Sauerkraut along with more than 20,000 bratwursts. Sweets were again popular, with hundreds of cake servings, cookies and other desserts.

“We encouraged our guests to come out and enjoy themselves and we want them to do so responsibly and return home safely,” Pecsenye said. “The additional shuttle locations were a great way to ensure that guests from all parts of town had a safe way to get to the festival grounds.” In addition, over 70 guests took advantage of the cab service and received receipts for $5 worth of tickets. More than 200 festival goers used this new service to travel from the festival grounds.

The “Ed Schmidt” photo booth was a great source of entertainment for festival-goers. The photos were displayed on large screens throughout the grounds, along with other candid photos. This added to the spirit of the festival and was a great way for guests to enjoy every aspect of the event. Photos can be viewed and downloaded at GermanAmericanFestival.net.

“The German worship service is a very moving experience,” explained Pecsenye. “To hear the German language and see 450 guests come together and participate is a great reminder of why we do this every year.”

Contest Winners

The Masskrugstemmen, which loosely translates to the lifting of a liter mug of beer, took place on Friday and Saturday. Contestants held the “Masskrug” with one arm completely stretched out and parallel to the floor.

Friday Winners


1st Cheryl Drew 2:33

2nd Veronica Brogna        2:24

3rd Joleen Schwab            2:14


1st – Jake Grover               7:44

2nd – Stefen Trell              6:35

3rd – Matt Tripp                5:28

Saturday Winners


1st – Amber Landsman                  3:40

2nd – Becky Lancaster                   2:34

3rd – Grace Robinson 2:23


1st – Robert Pawlinski                      4:38

2nd – Jeff Martin              4:35

3rd – Andy Kohler             4:20

For those who were interested in more of a physical challenge, the Swiss Steinstossen took place on Saturday and Sunday. The stones thrown in this traditional contest weigh in at 138 pounds for the men and 75 pounds for the women.

Saturday Winners


1st – Rachael Hinkle       9’-8”

2nd – Linda Rossler       8’-11”

3rd – Elissa Ackerman                    8’-8”


1st – Joe Bronowski       11’-9”

2nd – Kevin Jennings Jr.              11’-7”

3rd – Brad Hutchisson                 11’-6”

Sunday Winners


1st – Rachael Hinkle     9’-11”

2nd – Elissa Ackerman                   9’-2”

3rd – Gina White              7’-9”


1st – Joe Bronowski                   12’-4.5”

2nd – Mike Whitmer                    11’-7”

3rd – Kevin Jennings Jr.            11’-4.5”

The 5th Annual German Kuchen Baking Contest brought in delicious entries and the following winners:

1st – Tina Beamer

Black Forrest Cupcakes

2nd –Renee Thomas

 Plum Kuchen

3rd – Matt FrieMark

Apple Cake

This was the second year for the Brezlen Essen and Swiss cheese eating contests, and both events were again a huge success. Contestants for the Brezlen Essen came from as far as New York, but spectators cheered on the locals in the Hofbrauhalle. Last year’s winner prevailed again this year, consuming 10 soft baked pretzels in the allotted five-minute time frame. Crowds gathered in the Swiss Essen Haus to watch as 15 contestants competed to see who could eat a 1½ lb. block of Swiss cheese and a shot of prune juice. Jeff Ward and Kevin Gross tied for 1st place, with a time of 1:50. The resulting showdown, with an additional 1/3 lb. block of cheese and another shot of prune juice, ended with Ward winning the event with a time of 1:22. The remaining spots went to Gross, Amanda Harpel, Rob Shields and Nathaniel Diekman

This was the third year that the GAF sponsored 50/50 raffles. Over the course of the three-day event, nine winners took home a combined total of over $4,200.

Friday Winners

1st – Eric Graber

 Toledo, Ohio

2nd – Wayne Stekhahn

Cincinnati, Ohio

3rd – Al DePaolo


Saturday Winners

1st – Ernie Perry 

 Toledo, Ohio

2nd – Robert Hower 

Toledo, Ohio

3rd – Ryan Hecklinger

Toledo, Ohio

Sunday Winners

1st – Ryan Hecklinger

Toledo, Ohio

2nd – Tim Kincaid

 Toledo, Ohio

3rd – Gary Keller

 Toledo, Ohio

The 22nd Annual Hummel Look-Alike Contest took place on Sunday with the following winners:

Ages 2-4

1st                       Cade Schober

2nd                 Brody Batterline

3rd                        Abby Caryer

Ages 5-7

1st                      Mason Caryer

2nd                        Emily Rasor

3rd                          Jayne Mays

Ages 8-10

1st                      Elise Eschedor

2nd                        Emily Rasor

3rd                     Alison Schoder

“We would like to thank and acknowledge the dedicated volunteers who contribute time and energy every year. Without them, an event of this size and magnitude would not be possible. We hope to see everyone back next year,” said Pecsenye. “We would also like to thank the administrators and employees of the City of Oregon, the Oregon City School District and employees, and neighbors in the area for their patience throughout the past weekend.”

Additionally, the GAF provided monetary donations to Northwood High School and Cardinal Stritch High School Girls’ Soccer Teams in appreciation for their time donated towards clean up and parking efforts.

In another highlight of the weekend, girls’ soccer teams had fun Saturday afternoon, with Delta High School defeating Cardinal Stritch 5-1.

St. Louis Helping Hands Ministry and Little Sisters of the Poor benefited from the leftover food.

It was another great year for the German-American Festival, and according to chairman Pecsenye, the committee has already started work on next year’s festival. The 49th Annual German-American Festival will take place Aug. 24-26, 2014. In 2015 the German-American Festival will be celebrating its 50th festival.

For additional support photography or more information, contact Tim Pecsenye at festchairman@gafsociety.org. To learn more, visit www.germanamericanfestival.net or www.gafsociety.org/fest.htm.

About the German-American Festival. The Festival is operated by the G.A.F Society, which is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It is sponsored by the seven German- and Swiss-American societies in Toledo, and is intended to promote and enhance the German and Swiss cultures, as well as generate revenue to support the German and Swiss cultural center in Oregon, along with a variety of scholarship, athletic and philanthropic programs in the Toledo area.



Last modified on:08/25/2014

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