The German-American Festival (GAF) again proved why it is Northwest Ohio’s largest festival, as more than 34,000 people heeded the call to “Bring a Guest and Come to the Fest” Aug. 23-25.
“We were more than pleased with the size of the crowds at this year’s festival,” said Chairman Tim Pecsenye, who added that food was consumed in impressive quantities at the festival. More than five and half tons of potatoes were used to make handmade potato pancakes, hand-cut Pommes Frites (French fries) and 4,500 pounds of homemade German potato salad. Guests enjoyed gallons of sauerkraut along with more than 20,000 bratwursts. Sweets were again popular, with hundreds of cake servings, cookies and other desserts served.
“We encouraged our guests to come out and enjoy themselves and we wanted them to do so responsibly and return home safely,” Pecsenye said. “The additional shuttle locations were a great way to ensure that guests from all parts of town had a safe way to get to the festival grounds.” In addition, more than 70 guests took advantage of the cab service. The “Ed Schmidt” photo booth was a great source of entertainment for festival-goers. The photos were displayed on large screens throughout the grounds, along with other candid photos. Photos can be viewed and downloaded at GermanAmericanFestival.net.
|Aaron Wilhelm and Nik Lesle-Pilner, of Northwood, discuss
the great taste of one of the breads at the Swiss Essen Haus
at the recent German American Festival. (Photo by Harold
“The German worship service is always a very moving experience,” Pecsenye added. “To hear the German language and see 450 guests come together and participate is a great reminder of why we do this every year.”
The Masskrugstemmen, which loosely translates to the lifting of a liter mug of beer, took place on Friday and Saturday. Contestants held the “Masskrug” with one arm completely stretched out and parallel to the floor.
Friday winners included:
Women: Cheryl Drew, first place, 2:33; second place, Veronica Brogna, 2:24; Joleen Schwab, third place, 2:14.
Men: Jake Grover, first place, 7:44; Stefen Trell, second place, 6:35; Matt Tripp, third place, 5:28.
Saturday winners included:
Women: Amber Landsman, first place, 3:40; Becky Lancaster, second place, 2:34; Grace Robinson, third place, 2:23.
Men: Robert Pawlinski, first place, 4:38; Jeff Martin, second place, 4:35; Andy Kohler, third place, third place. For those who were interested in more of a physical challenge, the Swiss Steinstossen took place on Saturday and Sunday. The stones thrown in this traditional contest weigh in at 138 pounds for the men and 75 pounds for the women.
Saturday winners included:
Women: Rachael Hinkle, first place, 9’-8”; Linda Rossler, second place, 8’-11”; Elissa Ackerman, third place, 8’-8”.
Men: – Joe Bronowski, first place, 11’-9”; Kevin Jennings Jr., second place, 11’-7”; Brad Hutchisson, third place, 11’-6”.
Sunday winners included:
Women: Rachael Hinkle, first place, 9’-11”; Elissa Ackerman, second place, 9’-2”; Gina White, third place, 7’-9”.
Men: Joe Bronowski, first place, 12’-4.5”; Mike Whitmer, second place, 11’-7”; Kevin Jennings Jr., third place, 11’-4.5”.
The 5th Annual German Kuchen Baking Contest brought in delicious entries and the following winners:
Tina Beamer, first place, Black Forrest Cupcakes; Renee Thomas, second place, Plum Kuchen; Matt FrieMark, second place, Apple Cake.
This was the second year for the Brezlen Essen and Swiss cheese eating contests, and both events were again a huge success. Contestants for the Brezlen Essen came from as far as New York, but spectators cheered on the locals in the Hofbrauhalle.
Last year’s winner prevailed again this year, consuming 10 soft baked pretzels in the allotted five-minute time frame. Crowds gathered in the Swiss Essen Haus to watch as 15 contestants competed to see who could eat a 1½-pound block of Swiss cheese and a shot of prune juice. Jeff Ward and Kevin Gross tied for first place, with a time of 1:50. The resulting showdown, with an additional 1/3¬-pound block of cheese and another shot of prune juice, ended with Ward winning the event with a time of 1:22. The remaining spots went to Gross, Amanda Harpel, Rob Shields and Nathaniel Diekman.
The 22nd Annual Hummel Look-Alike Contest took place on Sunday with the following winners:
Ages 2-4: Cade Schober, first place; Brody Batterline, second place; Abby Caryer, third place.
Ages 5-7: Mason Caryer, first place; Emily Rasor, second place; Jayne Mays, third place.
Ages 8-10: Elise Eschedor, first place; Emily Rasor, second place; Alison Schoder, third place.
“We would like to thank and acknowledge the dedicated volunteers who contribute time and energy every year. Without them, an event of this size and magnitude would not be possible. We hope to see everyone back next year,” Pecsenye said. “We would also like to thank the administrators and employees of the City of Oregon, the Oregon City School District and employees, and neighbors in the area for their patience throughout the past weekend.”
Additionally, the GAF provided monetary donations to Northwood High School and Cardinal Stritch High School Girls’ Soccer Teams in appreciation for their time donated towards clean up and parking efforts.
St. Louis Helping Hands Ministry and Little Sisters of the Poor benefited from the leftover food.
The 49th Annual German-American Festival will take place Aug. 24-26, 2014.
Aaron Wilhelm and Nike Lesle-Pilner, of Northwood, discuss the great taste of one of the breads at the Swiss Essen Hause at the recent German-American Festival. (Photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.com)