German American Festival welcomes new, old favoritesWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Grammy-nominated The Alex Meixner Band will headline the 2014 German American Festival (GAF), set for Aug. 22-24 at Oregon’s Oak Shade Grove. Meixner’s program, “Fascinating Rhythms of the World,” dabbles in styles of music including Slavic folk, jazz, pop and classical styles from Latin America, Africa and other sections of Europe.
Festival Chairman Tim Pecsenye instantly knew Meixner would fit in at the festival.
“He’s a high-energy performer and an excellent musician,” Pecsenye said. “Crowds sure do enjoy him quite a bit.”
This will be Meixner’s first time at the festival. Returning performers include Austrian Express, The Brothers Grimm, Euro Express, Jay Fox Band and Polish-American Concert Band, performing on three stages.
The festival is celebrating its 49th year complete with bratwursts, ears of sweet corn, sauerkraut, assorted cheeses, pretzels and dinner rolls — all prepared by volunteers.
“My favorite thing about the festival is we have no outside vendors,” Pecsenye said. “All of our volunteers prepare the food.”
The festival, operated by the German-American Festival Society and sponsored by seven German-and-Swiss-American societies in Toledo, is spread across 10 acres and is intended to promote German and Swiss cultures. General admission is $8. Discount advance purchase admission tickets are available for $7 online at www.germanamericanfestival.net or www.gafsociety.org/fest.htm. Two-day admission is $10 and three-day admission is $15, both available online
Festival hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a parade and opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. Aug. 22, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Aug. 23 and noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 24.
Activities and contests
Always a crowd favorite, the Hummel Look-Alike contest will take place Sunday afternoon. Children select a an M.I. Hummel figurine to dress like and will pose for a panel of judges. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded to each age category.
“People love kids,” Pecsenye said. “You can dig up a Pavarotti to sing the National Anthem somewhere and then you put a 7-year-old kid that does it instead and people will just think the [kid’s] just wonderful.”
Another favorite is the Brezellessen, the pretzel eating competition. The fun will be in the Hofbräuhalle 9 p.m. Saturday.
Other entertainment includes a 50/50 raffle with prizes awarded each evening, rides, face painting, clowns and a free German-language worship service Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. Plenty of food will be available including potato pancakes, bratwursts, potato salad, strudels, pastries and more.
“There’s no festival that has as many different brats as we do,” Pecsenye said, who enjoys his with sauerkraut and mustard.
Designated driver program
Drinks include plenty of imported beer, including: Augustiner Bräu Maximator, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche Doppelbock, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Ayinger Oktoberfest Bier, Ayinger Weizenbock and more.
Cocktails are available as well, including the So Schmeckt Deutschland, a drink that looks like the German flag. Wines, like the Schlink Haus Auslese, Kabinett and Dornfelder, will also be available.
In order to be safe, the festival will also include the designated driver Program for anyone who is not drinking and over the age of 21. The guests services booth will distribute coupons to those drivers to be used for three discounted 20 oz. soft drinks.
GAF shuttle tickets are available for $6 and shuttles will depart from various locations in the area.
Shuttles will depart from Bar 145, 5305 Monroe St., Berger’s Old Tyme, 1742 W. Laskey Road, Mayfly Tavern, 4532 N. Summit St., Anchor Inn, 4950 Suder Ave., The Attic on Adams, 1701 Adams St., Ye Old Cock ‘n’ Bull, 9 N. Huron St., Belle Wine and Martini Lounge at Levis Commons in Perrysburg and Lucas County Rec Center, 2901 Key St. Complimentary service is available at Icons Eatery & Entertainment, 3105 Navarre St. (from 6 p.m. to close on Aug. 22, 2 p.m. to close on Aug. 23 and noon to close on Aug. 24) and Pub 51, 5110 Woodville Road, Northwood.
Shuttles will run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Aug. 22 and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Aug. 23. The last shuttle departs from pickup locations to the festival grounds at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A special Sunday shuttle will depart from Bar 145 only from 2-10 p.m.
Tags: Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche Doppelbock, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Alex Meixner Band, Augustiner Maximator, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbick, Ayinger Oktoberfest Bier, Ayinger Weizenbock, Beer, classical, Designated Driver Program, Europe, GAF, German American Festival, Hummel Look-Alike contest, jazz, Oak Shade Grove, Oregon, pop, Slavic folk, So schmeckt Deutschland, Tim Pecsenye, Toledo