Oconomowoc mayor says trip to Germany was strictly business

By Jake Meister - Freeman Staff

Sept. 20, 2017

OCONOMOWOC — The purpose of a taxpayer-funded trip two Oconomowoc representatives took to the city’s sister city in Germany earlier this summer was strictly business, said Mayor David Nold.

Nold and Oconomowoc Economic Development Director Bob Duffy visited Oconomowoc’s sister city of Dietzenbach, Germany from July 25 to Aug. 1.

The trip was financed by the city of Oconomowoc. After the business concluded, Nold said, he remained in Germany on vacation using his own financing.

Nold said much of the trip was spent touring cities — like Frankfurt — to see what they’re doing well.

He said both sides are attempting to maintain and improve long-term relationships, which could in turn enhance help to get German citizens to vacation in Wisconsin, and vice versa.

The Oconomowoc representatives also learned about large wine festivals in Germany. Nold said the city could perhaps use what they learned to incorporate a sort of wine celebration in Oconomowoc or enhance an existing event with wine offerings.

Ideas stemming from Oconomowoc’s relationship with its sister city are nothing new.

The very popular German Christmas Market that has been held in Oconomowoc in the three days following Thanksgiving for the past six years was inspired by the Christmas markets of Europe.

Oconomowoc High School students constructed the huts for the original market in their building trades class and the city has continued to coordinate the event.

Nold said the German Farmers Market has provided a big boost to the local downtown shops that had, in the years prior to the market, lost holiday shoppers in the three days following Thanksgiving.

He added that the stores in Oconomowoc now do “fantastic business” during those all-important days.