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
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.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.