18 November, 2014


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Grapes, jail and fun at Carpathia‘s Weinlesefest

Help me up, I can’t reach the grapes”.

Sterling Heights - The doors opened at 6 pm, the grapes hanging in their meshed cocoons; teasing, enticing all on-lookers and passers-by. The Jail stood strong in the corner. Bailiff waiting, guarding what would become a revolving door of children and grown-ups - all who have tried and failed to hastily, or cleverly steal the green and purple treasures. The bar was stocked and the bartenders seasoned or pickled, perhaps both. The kitchen window opened to serve sausage or a hot dog to those that missed dinner before attending. And cake and coffee was also available.

But, before the stealing could begin, the attending dignitaries had to be announced, the workers recognized, the attendees thanked, and the rules had to be read. You can only steal when the band was playing, you must try to be sly when stealing the grapes. This is not a smash and grab, strong-arm robbery. But a well thought out plan as when to snatch your bundle without the watchful eyes of the Kulturgruppe seeing you. Once caught, walk in an orderly fashion to the jail and wait until some kind soul pays a $1 to bail you out. And in return for them bailing you out, you would dance with them.

At 8 pm Enzian’s music filled the air and the dance floor filled up with children and adults, alike. The grapes dangled from various heights and each and every hungry dancer was on the prowl; dancing, stalking, trying to find their package and the right moment. Of course, others were more hungry then slick and just went for the gusto at the first bag that hung over their head. The jail, like the dance floor, began to fill up.

At the first band break the crowd of approx 150 people were entertained by the little and middle dancegroup. Enzian again filled the hall with the sounds that brought the dancers to the dance floor. At this time the smell of pretzels filled the air as some of the young ladies from the Kulturgruppe walked around to entice those that were not fond of grapes, or thievery, and preferred a salty delight and had no qualms about paying for their desires.

At the second band break the Youthgroup, Schuhplattler Group, and the Kulturgruppe all had a wunderbar performance as was expressed by the applause from the crowd. At this point all current and former youthgroup dancers were summoned to the dance floor to perform a few favorites. For Sauerlander, I believe, we were 6 couples deep, in four directions. The music played, the feet began to bounce, and...well it is something you have to see to enjoy. The next dance-a-long was Marklaender. Partners gathered on the floor and once again hopped around as if they had never been away.

By this time all the grapes had been stolen, the jail had been emptied, and Enzian played as people danced, while the Kulturgruppe sold raffle tickets for the next band break. The raffle was held at the last band break - bottles of wine to baskets of Halloween candy - were raffled off as the crowd cheered with every winner. The evening wound down as the band played everyone out the door.

This is going to be the last year (for a while) that the Kulturgruppe will be hosting the Weinlesefest. Why, you may ask? For one, the date of the event is mixed in between two other important events at Carpathia and for two, it is time for something new. Such ideas have been mentioned as 50’s 60’s Big Band Night or a Schlachtfest. We are also looking into doing something in the first half of the year rather than the second half.

Once again, thank you to all those that were able to attend! I hope you had fun, I know I did!

Carsten Grotloh

Is Paul Schwalbe remembering the time when he was that young and needed to be bailed out?

Isabelle Bates standing guard.



Last modified on:02/25/2014

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