In these parts, it’s the best of times, it’s the “wurst” of times.
From Friday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 24, crowds from near and far are expected to descend upon the 10 wooded acres of Oak Shade Grove in Oregon for the 43rd Annual German-American Festival.
Billed as the Toledo area’s oldest, largest and greatest ethnic festival, the event offers a little something for everyone, including authentic German food, entertainment, art, dancing, games, desserts, and of course, beer - lots of German beer - 24 different flavors to be exact, served in old-world style, outdoor Bier and Wein gartens.
This year, the festival will showcase weekend entertainment headliners Die Fichtler Buam, a four-piece band from Steinach, Germany, that specializes in everything from traditional German folk music to popular rock and roll favorites.
Festival-goers can enjoy Local Germanic and other ethnic music continuously throughout the weekend as a wide range of performers take to the FestZelt, the Wein Garten and Hofbräuhalle stages, the former featuring an expansive 56 foot by 40 foot wooden dance floor covered by a main tent spanning 100 feet x 265 feet without poles, just like at the authentic Oktoberfest.
Are you game for some fun and games? The authentic stone-throwing contest, the Swiss Steinstoossen, makes its return and will be open to the public. Other attractions include soccer exhibitions and matches, “Scherenschnitt” or paper-cutting art demonstrations, imported gift items and a raffle with a grand prize of a 24-month lease on a 2008 VW Jetta.
For the kids, there will be face painting, balloon animals, amusement and pony rides all weekend (with a children’s identification program available for an extra measure of safety).
With so much to do and see, festival-goers are bound to work up an appetite, and when they do, they’ll be able to treat themselves to Hünchen Plattes (chicken), Schweinshaxen Platters (pork shank), Kartoffel Puffers (potato pancakes), ham shanks, brats and cheddar wurst, plus sample cheeses, breads, sweet corn, Schnitzel sandwiches, and many other sides too numerous to list. Delicious homemade Kuchen, Strudels, cookies, Lebkuchen and a variety of other homemade pastries will also be available.
On a special note, local German and Swiss choruses, the Teutonia Männerchor and Damenchor, and the Toledo Swiss Singers, will team up as part of a 100-voice mass chorus during the 2008 German-American Festival German Worship Service. Scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 24 at 10:30 a.m., the gathering will be highlighted by liturgy and hymns sung in German, accompanied by a sermon in English. Individuals attending the free service will also receive free admission to the festival.
More than 70 acres of free lighted parking has been prepared and “people movers” will be in service to transport attendees to the main entrance gate on Seaman Street. Parking areas can be entered from Starr Avenue, Corduroy Road or Seaman Street.
Oak Shade Grove is located at 3624 Seaman Rd., a half mile east of Coy Road. Hours are Friday, Aug. 22 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, Aug. 23 from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 24 from noon to 8 p.m.
General admission is $7 per person. Active military, police, fire or EMS personnel will be admitted at no charge with proof of employment on Sunday. Senior citizens holding a Golden Buckeye card or equivalent will receive a $1 general admission discount on Sunday at the gate. Children 15 years of age and under admitted at no charge all weekend when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Discount advance purchase admission tickets are available for $6 each at Ohio Meijer stores and Michigan Meijer locations in Adrian and Monroe, Arnie’s Westgate, Berger’s Olde Tyme, Shawn’s Irish Tavern on Heatherdowns and Ventura’s Mexican Cantina on Bancroft.
General admission $1 discount tickets are also available by donating a non-perishable food item to Food for Thought Food Pantries at the festival on Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Round-trip shuttle service tickets will be available for $6 with pick-up and drop off at three Toledo-area locations: Arnie’s Westgate, Berger’s Olde Tyme on Laskey Road and the Lucas County Recreation Center.
Shuttles run continuously on Friday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Last shuttle from parking lot pick-up locations at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Last shuttle from the festival grounds departs at 1 a.m. both Friday and Saturday. Log on to www.germanamericanfestival.net for details.
The German-American Festival is sponsored by seven German- and Swiss-American societies in Toledo. Proceeds benefit and support a wide variety of scholarships, athletic programs and other philanthropic causes in the Toledo area.