18 November, 2014


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The 49th German-American Festival Celebrates Another Successful Year

The “Brothers Grimm” (Rob Schwalbe (l) and Erwin Rauschendorfer) entertained the crowd. 

Toledo, Ohio - The German-American Festival did not disappoint as it drew one of its largest crowds ever this past weekend, Aug 22-24. More than 35,000 people were in attendance this year.

“Despite a few setbacks such as the cooler fire in one of our refrigerated trucks causing us to lose six 55 gallon drums of sauerkraut, a bunch of eggs and a ton and a half of hand made potato salad, I would say this year had the best turnout to date. It was amazing to see all of the volunteers come together and make the festival happen without a hitch. The show must go on and that it did,” said Tim Pecsenye, Festival Chairman.

“We want to say a big THANK YOU to all the extremely dedicated volunteers and friends who poured their time and efforts into making this festival great, and to those who really stepped up and helped us during the fire crisis. Without them it would not have been possible. We hope that they enjoyed the festivities, and look forward to their support again next year,” said Pecsenye. “We also would like to thank the administrators and employees of the City of Oregon, the Oregon School District and employees, and neighbors in the area for their patience throughout the last weekend.”

This year’s special events and contests that took place to help celebrate the German heritage had great participation and enthusiasm.



This was the fourth year that GAF sponsored 50/50 raffles. Over the course of the three-day event, nine winners took home an amazing combined total of $5,895.



1st - Robert Steinecker, Perrysburg, OH - $1225

2nd - Jennifer Perkins, Toledo, OH - $200

3rd - Alan Saunders, Oregon, OH - $100



1st - Susan Shultz, - $1515

2nd - Frank Duran, Toledo, OH - $200

3rd - Diana Coyne, Temperance MI - $100



1st - Mark Sabchur, Washington, PA - $2255

2nd - Kathy Lemay, Toledo, OH - $200

3rd - Ronald Heidon, Dundee, MI - $100

Swiss Steinstossen is a stone-throwing contest where the stones weigh 138 pounds for men and 75 pounds for women.




1st - Rachael Hinkle - 9’4”

2nd - Elissa Ackerman - 9’-1”

3rd - Tyler Riddle



1st - Zach Diekman - 13’-6”

2nd - Joe Bronowski - 12’-10”

3rd - Kevin Jennings - 12’-3”




1st - Tyler Riddle - 9’-10”

2nd - Rachael Hinkle - 9’-8”

3rd - Elissa Ackerman - 9’-3”



1st - Casey Hernyak - 12’-8.5”

2nd - Joe Bronowski - 12’-6.5”

3rd - Kevin Jennings - 12’-6”

The Masskrugstemmen is a contest in which contestants compete to see who can hold the “Masskrug” which is a liter mug of beer, for the longest amount of time with one arm completely stretched out and parallel to the floor.




1st - Thomas Sadony - 6:19

2nd - Zach Hribar - 6:13

3rd - Chris Burns - 6:00



1st - Traci Albrecht - 2:44

2nd - Joleen Schwab - 2:42

3rd - Katie Barney - 2:35



1st - Amber Lansman - 4:06

Tied for 2nd - Jeannie Smith- 2:30

Tied for 2nd - Lori Schultz - 2:30

Tied for 2nd - Kelly O’Brien - 2:30


1st - Jerry Karn - 9:19

2nd - Timothy Zuehlke - 9:03

3rd - Jake Grover - 7:53

The German Kuchen Baking Contest brought in delicious entries that were thoroughly enjoyed by the judges. Also, this was the third year for the Brezlen Essen Contest (pretzel eating). The winner of the Brezlen Essen, Brenden, has prevailed for the last three years. This year Brenden consumed nine soft pretzels in just five minutes.


The Hummel look-a-like contest was an adorable display as always, drawing large crowds to gather and watch the excitement.



Ages 2-4

1st – Brody Batterline - Hum #174 She Loves me She Loves Me Not - Sylvania, OH

2nd – Emma Ellison – Hum #98 Sister - Lincoln Park, MI

3rd – Landon Caryer - Hum #312 Honey Lover – Sylvania, OH

Hon. Men. – Callen Willey - Hum #2156 Loads of Fun – Toledo, OH

Hon. Men. – Landon Krestrick - Hum #2344 Country Figurine – Toledo, OH

Hon. Men. – Emma Malcolm – Hum #98 Sister – Toledo, OH


Ages 5-7

1st – Mason Caryer – Hum #2334B A Little Boo Boo – Sylvania, OH

2nd – Cade Schober – Hum #633 I’m Carefree – Riga, MI

3rd – Abby Caryer – Hum #768/1 Pixie – Sylvania, OH

Hon. Men. – Tawny Zimmerman - Hum #495 Evening Prayer – Holland, OH

Ages 8-10

1st – Anna Schober - Hum #257 For Mother - Riga, MI

The Swiss cheese eating contest was also a huge success. There were 20 individuals who participated in the 3rd annual contest with seven individuals on stand by. The contest was held on Saturday, Aug. 23 in the Schwabenhalle and hosted by the Swiss Essen Haus. Participants were required to eat a ½ pound of Swiss cheese, take a shot of prune juice and were allowed to drink a beer.



1st – Kevin Gross – 2:07

2nd – Ryan Metzger – 2:25

3rd – Joe Downard – 4:01

“We were excited about the crowds that our fest drew this year, it was truly unbelievable. Bratwurst, potato salad and potato pancakes were just a few of the many extremely popular and delicious authentic German food choices that were enjoyed by all. Walking around the festival and seeing everyone enjoy the festivities was a very rewarding experience.”

The German-American Festival is the largest supporter of high school level foreign language education in the Toledo area.  The German-American Festival Society announced its scholarship awards for 2014. Over $4,000 in scholarships and awards mark the 49th year of recognizing young German scholars in northwest Ohio. 

Additionally, several German and Swiss Societies make scholarships available. The Toledo Schwaben Verein has awarded scholarships for 13 years, for a total of 105 scholarships and $52,500. The GBU Financial Life also annually awards several scholarships and grants promoting scholarship through the GBU Foundation.

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

The committee has already started to work on next year’s festival, as it will be a rather exciting one. In 2015 the German-American Festival will be celebrating 50 years.

About the German-American Festival: The Festival is operated by GAF 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:09/13/2014

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