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Deutsch-Amerikanischer Schuetzenverein (DASV) feierte 76. Schuetzenfest


DANK Chapter Milwaukee Marks 35 years with Milwaukee German Fest

By DANK Chapter Milwaukee member Jane Nacker

Where were you in 1980 and 1981? Many DANK Chapter Milwaukee members can recall those years and remember the origin of Milwaukee’s German Fest. The weekend of July 24-26, 2015 was its 35th year at Henry Maier Festival Park on the Lake Michigan lakefront.

In 1980, Milwaukee’s longest serving mayor, Henry W. Maier, was a special guest at DANK Chapter Milwaukee’s 20th anniversary celebration. In his address to DANK Milwaukee, he challenged the local German-American community to organize a German festival. Walter Geissler, then President of DANK Chapter Milwaukee, took the lead and chaired a committee of five members. The original members were Walter Geissler, Chairman, Marianne Trivalos, Kaspar Peters, Rolf Hoffmann, and Anton Siladi. The German Fest charter was written in January, 1981, with the first German Fest held at Henry Maier Festival Park in August of that year. DANK Chapter Milwaukee members continue to hold key positions with German Fest.

Walter Geissler and DANK-Member Jane Nacker

Anniversary recognitions made this year’s German Fest extra special, and it was fitting that the official Bürgermeister was Walter Geissler. Being honored at the Opening Ceremony, participating in parades at the Fest, and strolling the grounds, his presence lent a unique quality to this Fest. As Mr. Geissler no longer resides in Wisconsin, it was a distinct pleasure of this writer to meet the person previously only heard about or read about in DANK Chapter Milwaukee history—a DANK member instrumental in starting the Fest that is dear to so many.

The Milwaukee DANK Chor sang at the Sunday Mass (coordinated by DANK Milwaukee President Ronald Kabitzke) and for a performance later that day (directed by Dr. James Norden). The DANK Milwaukee Folk Dancers, directed by Doris Mueller, performed dances including their trademark Bändertanz. DANK Milwaukee members volunteered at multiple areas of the Fest, including the Konditorei, German pizza, Information, Schnapps, and Culture area. This year’s culture display encouraged learning the German language related to the kitchen. DANK Milwaukee was represented in the Trachtenschau by DANK Milwaukee Vice President William Bessa and member Jane Nacker, showcasing the Chapter’s blue dance and Chor dirndl. In addition, DANK National had a booth well staffed with national and other chapter representatives. The anniversary activities, the visit by Veronika Hummel, the air and water show, the honoring of the USS Milwaukee crew, abundant attractions too numerous to mention, and the beautiful summer weather will make the 2015 German Fest difficult to beat.

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