The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


The 51st German-American Festival is set to take place Aug. 26-28 at Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd., in Oregon.

According to Jack Renz, G.A.F. chairman, more than 30,000 people attended last year's event and organizers are expecting more this year.

“The Northwest Ohio community has truly embraced our festival, and we’ve been thrilled to share our German culture and traditions with them for such a long time” Renz said. “Everyone has such a great time every year.”

According to Renz, whose father was chairman in 1987, the festival committee decided to keep up with the pace set by the late chairman, Tim Pecsenye, who served for several years. Pecsenye passed away in February.

“Tim really worked hard to get the festival where it is today,” he said. “He got people together and re-energized the whole thing. We are going to do our best and keep this festival growing into the future.”

The 51st German-American Festival, set for Aug. 26-28 at
Oak Shade Grove in Oregon, promises to be the best of
times and the "wurst" of times, with authentic ethnic food,
contests, games and music. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)

Operated by the G.A.F. Society and sponsored by the seven German- and Swiss-American Societies in Toledo, the festival features handmade food, more than 50 varieties of German beer, and carnival rides for the kids to enjoy.

“We have switched our sausage maker to the Dearborn Sausage Company, of Dearborn, Michigan and we are bringing back our special mushroom, Swiss and mozzarella bratwursts this year,” Renz said. “That brat is to die for. We will also have packaged bratwurst that people can purchase and take home.”

Festival-goers can also feast on knockwurst, schnitzel sandwiches, potato salad, smoked ham shanks, pretzels, funnel cakes, leberkäs platters, jalapeno wurst, sauerkraut, cheddar wurst, handmade potato salad, and sauerkraut balls.

Featured beers include 1809 Berliner Weisse, Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen, Aecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoke, Augustiner Maximator Doppelbock, Aventinus, Aventinus Eisbock, Bayerischer Leipziger Gose, Black Cloister Hildegard Berliner Weisse, Black Cloister Helles Angel, and Einbecker Mai Urbock, just to name a few.

Looking for something sweet? There’s plenty to indulge in, including homemade pastries including kuchen, strudels, cookies, cakes and more.

It goes without saying that the festival will feature a variety of entertainment, from music to dancing. An opening ceremonies parade kicks off the festival each year, and entertainment is provided by nationally known German bands. Crowds will delight in the popular Hummel Look-Alike Contest, a stone-throwing contest (Steinstossen) and a pretzel-eating competition.

“It is all of these things that make this festival unique,” Renz said. “Our volunteers make this a personal and exceptional experience. It is just a great time.”

New this year is a scavenger hunt. “We have a scavenger hunt for the month of August in which we stuff a boot with festival tickets and hide it somewhere around Toledo,” he said. “Hints will then be given out over social media, encouraging people to try and find the boot.”

According to Renz, four boots have been hidden and, so far, none of them have been found. All location hints will be given out exclusively via the @GAFToledo SnapChat story, over the course of four hours. If no one finds the boot within four hours, it will be re-hidden another day.

Festival tickets as well as food and drink tickets can be purchased online at

Each year, proceeds from the G.A.F support high school level foreign language education in the Toledo area, and awards college German Language Scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

Visit www. for details about activities and transportation. The G.A.F’s Facebook and Twitter pages will keep fans updated about everything happening leading up to and during the 2016 G.A.F. Add the German-American Festival on SnapChat @GAFtoledo for scavenger hunt updates and exclusive sneak peeks.




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