What makes a ‘Fest Favorite’?
German Fest ready to roll out the food and fun for 37th year


July 27, 2017

MILWAUKEE - 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 overnight.

Well, a “Fest Favorite” has to have at least ethnicity, right? The dachshunds have that going for them.
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 through Sunday.

- “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 barons.
- Hummels signed by Veronika Hummel - Visit to see available Hummel figurines and steins.
- Leinenkugel’s 150th Anniversary Lager - The amber brew is a collaboration between Leinenkugel’s and HofbrŠu Mźnchen.

At a glance
- 3 p.m. to midnight Friday
- noon to midnight Saturday
- noon to 9 p.m. Sunday

Regular admission
- $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 active military.