18 November, 2014


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46th annual German-American Festival ends successfully

Oregon  – Held at Oak Shade Grove in Oregon, Ohio, the German-American Festival (GAF) proved once again why it has become the oldest and largest ethnic festival in the Toledo area. From Aug. 26 through Aug. 28, more than 30,000 festival-goers dined, danced and drank-in the good times, treating themselves to authentic German & Swiss dishes, crowd-pleasing entertainment by featured band Austrian Express from Milwaukee, an opening night parade and, of course, lots of German and domestic beer. As always, the kids loved the amusement park rides, face painting and strolling performers. According to Tim Pecsenye, festival chairman for the GAF, the superb weather over the weekend was just one of the things that made this end-of-summer tradition such a resounding success.

 The amount of food and beverages consumed at this year’s Festival ranked as one of the highest amounts in festival history.  Over 52,000 hand-made potato pancakes (over 2 tons of potatoes), 6,001 pretzels, 1 1/2 tons of hand-cut Pommes Frites (French Fries), over 19,001 Bratwurst varieties, 276 gallons of Sauerkraut, 545 pounds of Sauerkraut balls, tons of baked goods and 1,701 servings of roasted almonds were consumed, not to mention the amount of beverages that were served.  Did we forget anything?  BEER!

 “With the economy the way it is people are naturally looking for ways to stretch their entertainment dollars,” Pecsenye said. “The GAF has worked hard to hold the line on prices, while offering additional promotional and savings opportunities through texting campaigns, Facebook postings and other social networking activities. Moreover, this event allows local residents to remain close to home and still enjoy a vacation-like atmosphere. You just don’t see competitions like the Swiss Steinstossen (rock throwing) and the “Masskrugstemmen” contest – an event that challenges participants to hold a one-liter stein straight out with one arm level to the ground – very often apart from the Fest.”  Visit www.gafsociety.org/fest.htm for all contest results.

Top performers in the Steinstossen contest for Saturday in the men’s division were Bill Mallernee a winning toss of 12 11 3/4, followed on Sunday by Zach Diekman at 12 6. On Saturday the women’s winner was Laura Berlincourt with a lob measuring 9 10 1/2, followed on Sunday by Rachael Hinkle, who had a winning toss of 9 5. In the  Masskrugstemmen, on Friday Luke Weinrich took first place in the men’s division posting a time of 5:23 (the U.S. record stands at 14:00). Kelly Chovan held out the longest for the women at 2:51. On Saturday the men’s winner was Scott Striggow with a time of 5:10 and Cynthia Marley won for the ladies with a time of 2:26.

On Saturday, bakery delicacies took center stage during the 3rd Annual German Baking Contest. First place went to Renee Thomas of Elmore, Ohio, for her winning recipe Honey Cake Squares. Christine Suplica from Temperance, Mich., earned second place with her Linzer Pastry, and Carolyn Schimmel claimed third place with her Schnecken (Cinnamon Rolls). Ventura’s Restaurant donated $100 in gift certificates for the winner and 2nd & 3rd place. Judges were Cassandra Reichow, pastry chef; Ron Banin, chef instructor; and Dan Neman, food editor with The Blade.

 This year was the first for the festival to sponsor 50/50 raffles. During the three days nine winners took home over a total of $10,500.

 “It should be noted that while we encourage our guests to come out and enjoy themselves, we want them to do so responsibly and return home safely,” Pecsenye said. “And, I’m happy to report that offering an additional shuttle service site were very well received this year, with buses filled to capacity. We also added extra parking lots for more convenience. Highway construction was heavy but none of it kept the guests away from the Fest!

“Just as important, we’d like to acknowledge the countless volunteers who contributed so much of their time and effort to making this year’s festival possible. The committee would especially like to thank them, the administrators and employees of the City of Oregon, the Oregon City School District and employees, and neighbors in the area for their patience and help throughout this past weekend.”

Additionally, the GAF provided monetary donations to the Northwood High School and Cardinal Stritch High School Girls’ Soccer Teams and the Clay Athletic Boosters, in appreciation for their tireless clean-up and parking efforts.

 St. Louis Helping Hands, Little Sisters of the Poor, Sacred Heart Home for the Aged, St. Paul’s Community Center and Food for Thought Pantry benefited from the food that was not consumed.  The Festival donated almost a truckload of perishable items to help with feeding the homeless, low-income families and the elderly. 

According to festival chairman, Tim Pecsenye the committee feels they have exceeded their goals for the 2011 Festival and they are already starting to plan 2012, which is scheduled for Aug. 24-26. 

For support photography or additional information, contact Tim Pecsenye at festchairmain@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:02/23/2014

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