Serving up what’s new at the 54th German-American Festival— with a side of nostalgia
The first German-American Festival was the result of seven German-speaking societies that came together to celebrate their heritage— German, Swiss and Bavarian influences that continue to form a strong presence in our region. Held in Raceway Park for the first ten years, the German-American Festival is now known for its yearly presence at Oak Shade Grove, a place that transforms into a wonderland of old-world traditions complete with lederhosen, potato pancakes and a smorgasbord of German beers. As the Festival’s loyal attendees twirl around the dance floor to the tune of polka music, taking a break only to indulge in a bratwurst, both kids and adults alike recognize how special the festival is in its celebration of rich heritage.
Since GAF is the oldest ethnic festival in the area, we asked our readers to recall their most memorable moment at GAF. Below are a few that stood out.
“About five years in a row, my friends and I would all dress in a theme when going to the GAF. One of my favorites was “Plaid for the GAF.” Getting almost 10 people together to dress head to toe in plaid is pretty funny and, when you add some brats and copious amounts of German beer, you get the best of times.” – Dylan Kahle
“One year, I worked a beer tent and that was probably the BEST experience I had from the GAF. Interacting with
festival-goers from the serving side was a blast and absolutely hilarious!!!!! My experiences on the other side were fun, especially when everyone is gathered harmonizing to “Sweet Caroline.” – Bobbi Jo Blunk
As if the food, drinks, music and dancing weren’t enough to keep people coming back to Oak Shade Grove year after year, there are plenty of unique traditions to keep your attention for the full weekend of fun. There’s the M.I. Hummel contest for children from two to ten years old, a stone-throwing contest (steinstossen), and a German church service/food drive, to name a few of the interactive cultural activities you can participate in.
This year you’ll find a few additions to GAF, with a Yark BMW raffle for a two-year lease on a new vehicle, a new beer debut from Earnest Brew Works, and a new music lineup that will keep you on your feet all day dancing off that schnitzel sandwich.
August 23-25 | 4pm-1am, Friday
Noon-1am, Saturday | Noon-11pm, Sunday
Admission starts at $8.
A shuttle service is also available for $8, with pick-ups and drop-offs available at various Toledo-area locations.
Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd., Oregon