Volksfest brings the taste of German culture to Tuscaloosa

“Volksfest”, originating in 1838, is a cultural festival traditionally held in Germany every year for one to three weeks. The event often features various German dishes, dances, music and beer. In Tuscaloosa’s second Volksfest, FOCUS on Senior Citizens Executive Director Morgan Mann hopes to deliver just that.

“The German population really has a cultural influence in this community and before this event I didn’t think there was much demonstration of that,” Mann said. “So I reached out to our German community through companies like Mercedes Benz and Edelweiss, and invited them to plan the festival, because they know what we’re trying to recreate here.”

This year’s Volksfest will feature two German polka acts, a Biergarten tent showcasing local German beers from Black Warrior Brewing Company and Druid City, and a surplus of authentic German cuisine.

“We’ll be bringing things like pretzels, German cookies, cakes and bratwurst for the festival,” said Ester Scheeff, general manager of Edelweiss, Tuscaloosa’s German Bakery and Cafe. “Everyone comes together and everything really happens like a real German Volksfest.”

The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Government Plaza, and will also feature food trucks and activities for children. Returning this year, Wolfgang Moritz will perform traditional fare and the Tuscaloosa Barnyard Petting Zoo. The event is family friendly, but also encourages UA students to attend.

“I’m 45, but I remember being a student at UA like it was yesterday,” Mann said. “If the weather is warm and you have live music, something to eat and a good beer, well, that would have been right up my alley.”

With nearly 1,000 attendees last year, Mann hopes to recreate the traditionalism and success of the festival with even more guests this year.

“While we want as many people as possible to attend, as long as we see a good crowd of people having fun, we’ve achieved our goal.” Mann said.

Tickets can be purchased at http://focusonseniocitizens.org/ for $15. For $50, VIP tickets can also be purchased, including a t-shirt, a glass Volksfest beer mug and three beer tokens. Proceeds will benefit FOCUS on Senior Citizens of Tuscaloosa County, which provides Tuscaloosa citizens 50 and older with services and activities like nutrition centers and a volunteer program.

“It’s nice to know that you can go have fun at a traditional German festival while benefiting the elderly residents of Tuscaloosa,” said Will Sherrer, a sophomore majoring in operations management. “There really is a large German community in Tuscaloosa, and I think it’s great that everyone in town has the opportunity to experience a traditional festival while learning more about German culture.”