- What’s required to be named one of the 12 “Fest
Favorites” at German Fest?
One would think longevity
as the festival kicks off it 37th year at Henry Maier
Festival Park. However, those racing wiener dogs in the
Dachshund Derby, approaching its 12th year and taking
off at 1 p.m. Sunday, proved popular virtually
Well, a “Fest Favorite” has to have at least
ethnicity, right? The dachshunds have that going for
Not always. The fireworks at 10:30 a.m. Friday and
Saturday are hardly a German invention or can Germans
lay sole claim to their popularity in Europe.
What they have in common is “Gemźtlichkeit,” a
somewhat hard-to-define German word expressing good
cheer, congeniality and spirited warmth. (It encompasses
fireworks for the purposes of this article.)
So if you’re new to or familiar with the festival,
grab a highlighter for the remaining 10 “Fest
Favorites” supplied by German Fest:
- Alex Meixner - Daily high-energy performances from
polkas and waltzes to jazz and pop. Meixner will play
about a dozen instruments, including the 12-foot long
Swiss Alphorn, and sing in several languages.
- Obenheimer Express Band - The nine musicians from
Alsace perform rock, ballads, hits and oldies Friday
- “Gloria” - Played by Alte Kameraden, making a 36th
annual German Fest appearance all three days. Apparently
they missed a year.
- Glockenspiel - A giant clock that comes to life.
- German Fest parade - More than 100 entries, including
Mardia Gras royalty, weaves through the grounds
beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Mardi Gras show is at
5:30 p.m. Saturday.
- Battle of the Mascots - More than a dozen of the best
mascots in Wisconsin compete in a soccer scrimmage at 5
p.m. Sunday, including Bango from the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Bienenstich - Coffeecake filled with custard, topped
with almonds and honey.
- Potato pancakes - The German way.
- Spanferkel - Roasted pig. Yum.
- Konditorei - German pastry and cake shop.
There are plenty of other songs, bands, entertainment
and food, not to mention beverages, including wine and
beer in the German tradition, plus schnapps, none of
which made the “Fest Favorite” list.
If your favorite isn’t among the dozen above, it’s
clearly an oversight. How could “Ein Prosit,” sung
numerous times, not make the cut?
Good bets for this year’s “Fest Favorites” are:
- Stihl Timbersports U.S. Pro and Collegiate
Championships (see accompanying story).
- German Heritage Walking Tour - It covers everything
from faith to politics, from entertainment to the beer
- Hummels signed by Veronika Hummel - Visit
germanfest.com to see available Hummel figurines and
- Leinenkugel’s 150th Anniversary Lager - The amber
brew is a collaboration between Leinenkugel’s and
At a glance
- 3 p.m. to midnight Friday
- noon to midnight Saturday
- noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
- $15 at the gate
- $7 for senior 50 and older and students with ID.
- $3 for all on Friday
- Free for children 12 and younger with adults and for