Saturday, August 11, 2007


The German Fest was relocated this year, to the Fairgrounds. Carillon Park raised their rates so they relocated to the Fairgrounds. I am not a fan of the Fairgrounds, but the new venue did permit the event to expand. There were more vendors (inside the round barn), and kiddy rides.

And, of course, lots of good beer. They always have a good beer selection here, both bottled and on tap. And friendly volunteers to serve it, too.
Dayton’s German ancestry community has managed to maintain an institutional presence more solid than one would expect, as this wasn’t as big a center of immigration as Cincinnati was. There are three German clubs in town, the Edelweiss, the Eintracht, and the Liederkranz-Turner. I think it’s the Liederkranz that sponsors this event.

Dayton’s “Deutschtum” was mostly an east side community, moving east on 5th, and then south down Wayne to Xenia Avenue (nicknamed “Dutch Boulevard” for its Germanic character). The German community helped support a decent sized brewrey industry here, too...check out Curt Dalton's excellent history of the brewing trade here.

German neighborhoods were the Oregon, Haymarket, St Anne’s Hill, Xenia Avenue, and probably South Park. The Germans also drove the formation of some of the older Catholic parishes here.

I really don’t know the history of this community as well as I should. There are a number of archival sources, but they are in German, as this was probably a bilingual community during the 19th and early 20th century, using German among themselves but English in dealing with others. This persisted until WWI, and perhaps even later.

Yet, by now, the German-Americans of Dayton are thoroughly assimilated, though new Germans do move into the area, supporting a German language radio program on Saturdays and German items in certain local food stores (like Charlie’s on Troy Street and the Brotzeit Deli in Lebanon, which has a strong Dayton-area patronage).

And, of course, this fun festival: food, music, dance, beer, sing-alongs (they give you a song sheet), makes it all very gemutlich!

For more pix click here

No comments: