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Vol. 6 No. 1 August - September 2017 Issue Complimentary

Sommerfest brings smiles and Gaufest’s return to Buffalo
revelry back to Heritage Village as a cultural celebration is a big success

by Steve Dlugosz by Steve Dlugosz rol) take their heritage very seri- Mike Zavarella, chairman of
ously. this year's Gaufest in Buffalo,
After a one-year hiatus, the The event known as Gaufest, handing over the Wanderstock
decade-long German a national, biennial conven- “One of the biggest pieces of to the chairman of the next
Sommerfest returned to tion aimed at promoting the this event is the competitions. Gaufest in Washington, D.C.
the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Vil- Schuhplattler groups (including (Gruppenpreisplatten) groups Monika Klein.
lage (BNHV) in north Amherst, a Bavarian, Tyrolian and German spend many, many months prac-
local favorite cultural celebration cultures) through dance, tradition ticing so they take home first prize teIn, was another popular event,
that featured smiles, traditional and costume, recently made its and display it in their club house as was the Saturday dinner ban-
music and fare, and general good third return to Buffalo, with a very until the next Gaufest. They also quet (Festabend) and Sunday
feelings. positive review of the event held at get to proudly display the First (Festtag) fest. A parade of flags
the Buffalo Niagara Convention Prize pin on their vests. That is (Festzug), Bauernmesse (tradi-
The celebration took place Center. something they will cherish and tional German church service di-
June 4 at the Heritage Village, wear for the rest of their lives!" rected in Bavarian dialect),
located on Tonawanda Creek Mike Zavarella served as chair- welcome dance, and farewell par-
Road. German Sommerfest is de- man at this year's Gaufest in Buffa- Buffalo emerged as the 2017 ty all commemorated Gaufest.
scribed as a partnership between lo, which had previously hosted the host over Philadelphia after a bid
Swiss-German restaurant Schnit- event in 1993 and 2005. had been presented three years Heimatabend (performances
zel & Company and Buffalo Niag- ago from the Buffalo representa- of traditional song, dance and mu-
ara Heritage Village. A number of According to Zavarella, tive "verein" (or society/chapter) sic), Ehrentaunze (honor dances)
Shaw Museum events took place Gaufest Buffalo 2017 was a "defi- to the delegates of the Gaufest and JugendeinzelplatteIn (chil-
in the earlier part of the afternoon, nite success," with more than 1,500 national organization, which was dren's single-couple dancing) as
and German food, beer, music and attendees from 57 "verein" from the accepted over the competing ver- well as various other workshops
dancing took place outside in the United States and Canada, to go ein from Philadelphia. and socializing; were other week-
village on a sun-splashed day. along with six verein from Germa- end activities that were celebrated,
ny. Zavarella said Buffalo is the June 29 - July 2.
According to Steven Blass, di- only North American city to earn
rector of development for BNHV, "All our guests had a great time the honor of hosting Gaufest three The 2019 Gaufest event will
the event helps to bring back posi- and enjoyed everything we put to- times. He is a member of the local take place in Washington, D.C.,
tive feelings of German culture. gether, to go along with the food unit, SGTV (Schuhplattler Ge- and Zavarella at the Buffalo event
Sommerfest drew about 800 indi- that was provided," said Zavarella. birgstrachtenverein) Edelweiss ceremoniously handed over the
viduals. "Our guests enjoyed a first-class Buffalo, and helped coordinate chairman baton to Monika Klein
event….The people in the German the event with assistance from the King for such duties.
"I think in the past, a lot of groups in the Buffalo area and in local planning committee associ-
people were afraid to announce 'Gauverband Nordamerika (a 50- ated with Gaufest. For more information about
their culture as German (with past year-old organization dedicated to the local Gaufest chapter, SGTV
negative connotations)," said preserving and perpetuating the The event featured the re- Edelweiss Buffalo, visit www.
Blass. "But, with events like this, cultural heritage of Bavaria and Ty- nowned GruppenpreisplatteIn
it helps focus on the great culture (group dance competition), which
continued on page 6 brought out, as Zavarella says, For more information on
stiff competition, given the every- Gaufest, visit the event Facebook
THERE WAS PLENTY OF other-year occurrence. page at
food, fun and drink at Scharff- pg/GaufestBuffalo2017/about/ .
est on July 7 at Scharf’s Ger- Fifteen competing dance
man Restaurant and Bar on groups performed, with each
Clinton Street in West Seneca. group (comprised of four to six
The local establishment is cele- couples) having about four and a
brating its 50th anniversary this half minutes to perform. He said
year with a series of events. training for this event typically
lasts as long as six months, with
photos by Steven Kroczynski pressure on each group to com-
pete at a high level and capture the
"Wanderpreis," or first prize.

The couples dance competi-
tion, known as Einzelpreisplat-
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