Celebrate German culture with the German Heritage Fest this weekend

(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Bratwurst. Strudel. Beer. Sometimes even a few keywords are enough to turn a guy on. Here are some additional keywords: Lederhosen; dancing; music (“Valeri, Valera” anyone?).

The German Heritage Fest begins in Erie on Saturday, September 3. Swinging mugs, spinning dirndls and roaring voices will fill the grounds of St. Nick’s Grove at 5131 Old French Road. It all starts with a parade of flags at noon on Saturday, September 3.

Melissa Lesniewski is co-president of the festival with Ray Luniewski. She has been the head of the festival for about five years. She succeeded her mother, Beverly Pochatko, who founded the festival nearly three decades ago.

“She wanted people to know that Germans are having fun,” Lesniewski said. “And she wanted to share the legacy. We lose that as the older generation passes – all those things don’t pass on.

Pochatko is still active in the festival, but most administrative duties have now been transferred to Lesniewski and Luniewski.

After the parade of flags, the festival will immediately continue with dance and music. The tapping of the official keg will be followed by the first official toast.

“We get people who come to the festival every year. They’re from Pittsburgh, they’re from Erie,” Lesniewski said. “There’s a specific group that comes every year, set up in the corner of the tent early in the morning and they stay all day.”

Food includes bratwurst, braunschweiger, cheese limburger and ham and cheese sandwiches, german potato salad, german dinners, strudel, german cake and other typical foods that can be enjoyed expect at any festival, such as ice cream, hot corn, funnel cakes and cheesecake.

Entertainment includes Pittsburgh band Mädel Jäger, The Mad Bavarian, Alpen Schuhplattler Dancers and the Youngstown Saxon Brass Band.

The Festival ends for the day at 8 p.m. on Saturday, but at 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 4, the German party begins again. Admission is $5 per person per day, or $8 for a two-day pass.

“All the money that comes from the gates pays for pitches, entertainment, chairs and tents. That’s what keeps us going,” Lesniewski said.

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“It’s about coming together and being able to share music, dance, food and drink,” Lesniewski said. ” I can not wait to be there. It looks like the weather is going to be good. »