Germanfest to draw crowd for food and fun

Attendees of last year’s Germanfest participate in masskrugstemmen, a game in which contestants hold a liter of liquid ahead of them to see who can hold it the longest. This year, the game is back at the 13th annual Germanfest, set for 6:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. (Pioneer file photos)

BIG RAPIDS — In two weeks, area residents and visitors will gather for authentic beer and wine, food and music during the 13th annual Big Rapids Germanfest.

An assortment of authentic German food will be available for dinner and dessert, as well as beer and wine ordered from the country.

This year’s event will take place from 6:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, at St. Peter’s Lutheran School, 408 W. Bellevue St. Money raised for the event supports the school and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church youth groups.

“We always pride ourselves that this is the real deal,” said Mark Viel, event committee member.

Viel noted four kinds of beer, or “bier,” ordered from Germany will be available to attendees, including Dunkel and a lager from Hofbräu, in Munich; Hacker-Pschorr’s Weissbier; and Oktoberfest by Paulaner. An assortment of red and white wine, or “wein,” will come from the Rhein and Mosel valleys and also will be available during this 21-years or older event.

“There will be an authentic German buffet, along with a dessert buffet,” Viel said.

He said bratwurst, German potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut, “sauerbraten” or pot roast and other assorted foods will fill tables and guests’ plates before the dancing and games begin.

“We are having a repeat performance this year of Immigrant Sons, a polka band from southeast Michigan,” Viel said. “For games, we have the hammerschlagen, which is kind of like a test of strength, and we have the masskrugstemmen, where contestants hold a liter of liquid ahead of them to see who can hold it the longest.”

Viel said all the food, dancing and games are set under three tents and people come from as far as California to be a part of the Germanfest fun.

“We’re very pleased with the turnout the community has given us over the last 13 years. It’s not only good for the organizers, but it’s also good for the community,” he said. “We see 1,000 people. It’s a great way to see friends.”

Another game for attendees this year will be hammerschlagen, which is kind of like a test of strength, according to Germanfest committee member Mark Viel. The object is to drive a nail into an oak block faster than the other players.

Only a week remains for attendees to purchase tickets online at A limited amount of tickets are available at Cash and Carry, 130 S. Third Ave., Big Rapids. Tickets cannot be purchased at the door.

For more information, call (231) 527-9762.


Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at

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