Strassenfest: Opening ceremony changed to German Heritage Night

Left to right: Jeb Stratton, 9, Ty Fischer, 9, and Zach Nord, 10, compare their new outfits before practicing Sunday night at Ackerman Oil. The Jasper German Club donated all dirndls and lederhosen to the performers for the opening ceremony this year.

The opening ceremony of this year’s Strassenfest has been transformed into German Heritage Night with the addition of several events for the crowd to participate in.

Ten groups came together to provide the crowd with shows, games and dances all based on German traditions. While some of these events happen every Strassenfest year, a few are new additions this year.

A new addition to the Strassenfest opening ceremony for 2019 is an 11-singer Kinderchor led by Mary Burke performing two traditional German songs. In the photo, the Kinderchor performed during the rehearsal for the opening ceremony of Strassenfest which was held on Sunday evening at Ackerman Oil. The choir is made up of Mary Burke, Kiersten Heim, Lily Saypharath, Victoria Gunselman, Breanna Smith, Elsie Tekoppel, Leah Jerger, Layla Prior, Zoe Moore, Sophie Schnarr, Riley Wiggins and Vivienne Gunselman.

During the opening ceremony, an 11-girl choir will perform two traditional German songs conducted by Mary Burke. Before performing, the Celebration Singers will perform a song in German as dignitaries are led to their seats and the Kinderchor takes the stage for their performance.

Children will also participate in a May Pole Ribbon dance during the opening.

A total of 42 local children and teens will perform at the ceremony this year, more than double from previous years.

Children perform the May Pole Ribbon dance during the rehearsal for the opening ceremony of Strassenfest held Sunday night at Ackerman Oil. According to Laura Grammer, director of shows this year, it is important to introduce children to performances of these traditional songs, dances and customs so that they can appreciate their German heritage. It also allows the diverse cultures of the region to experience and appreciate these traditions.

After the opening ceremony, Jasper Rotary will present “Learn to Dance the Schuhplattler” to anyone who wants to learn the six steps of traditional Bavarian dancing. Participants receive a free cookie and water.

Next, Chocolate Bliss will host the Schokospiel, or chocolate game. Entrants will unwrap a cellophane-wrapped ball while wearing oven mitts to find wooden nickels that can be redeemed for special Strassenfest chocolate at Chocolate Bliss after the contest.

This will be followed by several German dance presentations as well as an original song performed by Courtney Heberer followed by a log sawing contest.

All these events are free for participants.

Jasper Strassenfest runs from August 1 to August 4. More information can be found on the Jasper Strassenfest website events page.

Landen Weidenbenner writes a placement reminder on Lily Saypharath’s hand before rehearsal Sunday night. Lily, 11, is part of the little choir that will perform at the opening of the Strassenfest on Thursday August 1 at 6 p.m.
Corbin Grammer, 17 months, decided he wanted to be part of his parents’ photo shoot, Morgan and Ryan Grammer, during Sunday’s rehearsal for the opening ceremony of Strassenfest held at Ackerman Oil. The Grammers will be the night watchmen during the opening ceremony during which they will ring the bell signifying the opening of the ceremony and perform other traditional tasks during Strassenfest.
The maypole dancers have confirmed they know their positions around the maypole ahead of the rehearsal for the Strassenfest opening ceremony held at Ackerman Oil on Sunday. A total of 40 children from kindergarten to high school will perform at the opening ceremony on August 1 at 6 p.m. in downtown Jasper.
Hannah Rottet, Hunter Fehribach, Breann Lechner, Grace Bartley and Jonny Serrano will perform as Wilkommen and Schuhplattler dancers at the opening ceremony of Strassenfest on August 1 at 6 p.m. The group rehearsed the Wilkommen dance choreographed by Laura Grammer, the opening director. ceremony, during the dress rehearsal held Sunday evening at Ackerman Oil.
Nick Hedinger and Hannah Rottet laugh as they complete the Schuhplattler dance, a traditional German dance, during the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony of Strassenfest held at Ackerman Oil on Sunday night. The Rotary Club of Jasper will be offering Schuhplattler dancing lessons after the ceremony as part of the festivities.