Sandusky - Over forty members of GTEV Edelweiss Detroit joined 1600 other
Trachtler from the US, Canada, and Germany for a four-day celebration of
music, song, dance, and Tracht. Edelweiss is one of nearly eighty clubs that
belong to the umbrella organization Gauverband Nordamerika. The
organization’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate the culture of Bavaria
Every two years, members travel from all corners of North America and
Bavaria to share their love of their traditions at the “Gaufest.”
Participants dressed in traditional Tracht (ethnic clothing) and took part
in workshops about diverse subjects such as the proper way to style hair,
play wooden spoons, sing and play Volksmusik, and even play the card game
Schafkopf. The Gaufest consisted of a banquet, competition and exhibition
dancing, parade of flags, Heimatabend, and church mass.
The church service, with 700 people in beautiful traditional garb and 70
flags on either side of the altar, was a moving experience. About 100
singers and musicians from throughout the Gauverband performed at the mass
on Saturday afternoon before the banquet. All the songs were sung in German;
the music was played on zithers, Hackbrett (hammered dulcimer), and woodwind
and brass instruments. Edelweiss member Richard Michels directed the music
in his position as Gaumusikwart of the Gauverband, and numerous Edelweiss
members were among the musical group.
The Heimatabend, held on Friday evening, was also under Rick’s direction.
For over an hour, the audience was treated to musical and vocal talents of
clubs’ member, including our own, who performed traditional music of Bavaria
and Tirol. The rest of the evening was devoted to folk dancing, with
authentic Volksmusik played alternately by Edelweiss’s Siasswasser
Tanzlmusik and an ensemble from the Volkstanzgruppe Enzian of Newark,
Delaware. The many visitors on hand from Bavaria said that the evening was
equal to those they sponsor: high praise indeed.
Another high point of the weekend was the dance competitions. One couple at
a time, 140 couples total, danced a Schuhplattler dance, and judges
evaluated their dancing skills. The competition is called
Einzelpreisplatteln and participants are divided into eight age groups, from
six years old and up. Edelweiss Detroit had nine competitors and did well.
Andrea Edelhauser with Kevin Walker and Renee Edelhauser with Paul Schwalbe
were in the 16-34 age group with a total of 65 couples. Their finish in the
top fifteen among such tough competition was outstanding. In the 35-49 age
group, Anita Knoll and her partner from BHTV Golden Gate San Francisco
placed 4th out of 17 couples. In the 50-59 age group, Annette Edelhauser and
Roger Kraft placed 4th out of 11. Finally, Andy and Janet Seefried placed
6th in the 60-plus category. All the couples practiced hard for the half
year leading up to the competition. Paul, Renee, Annette, and Janet were
first-time participants in competition. We’re proud of all of our dancers.
The other competition was Gruppenpreisplatteln in which clubs compete with
4-6 couples. Of the 14 clubs competing, STV Bavaria Cleveland, took first
place. Throughout the weekend, clubs also performed exhibition dances,
either Schuhplattler, folk dances, or figure dances. Edelweiss presented the
A Gaufest is held every two years in a different location. This year’s
Gaufest in June took place at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, hosted
by STV Bavaria Cleveland. STV Bavaria planned a well-organized Gaufest with
plenty of fun for all those attending. The 2015 Gaufest will be hosted by
SVEV D’Oberlandler in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
This Gaufest was the 24th since the Gauverband was founded in 1966. It has
been held in Florida, California, Colorado, the Midwest, the East Coast, and
even in Detroit in 1969. Gauverband member clubs are family oriented, so
those attending the Gaufest ranged from babies to great-grandparents . The
Gaufest was a great place to visit with our many friends, make music, and
dance into the late hours. Our love of Bavarian traditions has grown over
the years, and we are proud to be Edelweiss members and to be partners with
the other Trachtenvereine of Gauverband Nordamerika.
Treu dem guten alten Brauch,