Description: Celebrate everything German this summer as the 48th German-American Festival (#GAFToledo) returns to Oregon’s Oak Shade Grove Aug. 23 – 25. This popular annual festival, organized and managed by seven German and Swiss American societies in Northwest Ohio, is among the Midwest’s largest ethnic festivals.
The 2013 Festival features expanded shuttle locations, including a special Sunday Shuttle from Bar 145 on Monroe Street. But remaining are the many features that attract more than 30,000 people to the festival every year.
“We are proud to show off our German traditions each year,” explained Festival Chair Timothy Pecsenye. “Our popularity among the people of this area helps us to support many philanthropic programs,” including the German and Swiss cultural center in Oregon and a variety of scholarship, athletic and other programs in the Toledo area.
The German-American festival is famous for its wide variety of great food, including “Old World” style frankfurters, bratwurst, Leberkas, Kasewurst and Schnitzel, potato pancakes, sauerkraut and a beautiful selection of homemade pastries and desserts. A selection of 46 international beers (more than the Oktoberfest in Germany), several featured cocktails and five selections of German wines will be available.
Continuous live music is also featured at three stages throughout the 10-acre wooded property, from local Germanic and ethnic bands (including featured bands Austrian Express from Milwaukee, Wisc., and Alpen Echos from Cincinnati), a strolling button box artist from Germantown, Wisc., and “The Brothers Grimm” strolling musicians from Detroit.
An annual feature of the Festival is the collection of special events and contests that celebrate the German Heritage. The 2013 festival will include:
• Opening ceremonies and parade (Friday 8:00 p.m.)
• German Cookie Baking Contest (Saturday at 3:30 p.m.)
• Swiss Cheese eating contest (Saturday at 7:00 p.m.)
• Brezelessen (pretzel eating) competition (Saturday at 9:00 p.m.)
• Masskrugstemmen (beer lifting) competition (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.)
• Hummel Look-Alike Contest (Sunday afternoon)
• Swiss Steinstossen stone throwing contest (Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.)
• Soccer games (Saturday)
Shuttles will run from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23 and 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 (with the last shuttle leaving the departure locations at 10:00 p.m. and departing the festival grounds at 1:00 a.m.); the Special Sunday Shuttle will run from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. from Bar 145 only (with the last shuttle leaving Bar 145 at 7:00 p.m. and leaving the festival grounds at 11:00 p.m.). Shuttle ticket and departure locations include:
• Bar 145, Monroe St. (use former Cinema for parking)
• Berger’s Olde Tyme, Laskey Rd.
• Lucas County Recreation Center, Maumee
• Mayfly Tavern, Summit St., Point Place
• Anchor Inn, Suder Ave., Point Place
• The Attic on Adams, Downtown Toledo
• Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull Tavern, Downtown Toledo
• Shawn’s Irish Tavern, W. Bancroft St., Sylvania Township
• Icons Eatery and Entertainment, Navarre Ave., Oregon, which provides a free shuttle Friday from 6:00 p.m. to close, Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to close and Sunday from noon to close
The festival also features an annual collection of amusement rides and face painting for children, an abundance of German and Swiss shopping and traditional dancing groups to delight festival attendees of all ages. The Hofbrauhalle outdoor pavilion, Bier & Wein Garten, Sidewalk Café and Swiss Essen Haus recreate the scenes of a real German village.
• Friday, Aug. 23 – 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (Parade and Opening Ceremonies begin at 8:00 p.m.)
• Saturday, Aug. 24 – 2:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
• Sunday, Aug. 25 – Noon to 11:00 p.m. (German language worship service at 10:30 a.m.)
Visit www.germanamericanfestival.net or www.gafsociety.org/fest.htm to learn more about festival tickets and discounts, parking and shuttles, special discounts and other details.