Germanfest returns for its 40th and possibly biggest year

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People familiar with Fort Wayne are aware of the city’s German heritage. Since 1981, Germanfest has filled downtown Fort Wayne with the smells of German food, the sounds of polka, and the sight of lederhosen and other traditional German clothing. The unofficial kickoff of the summer festival season, Germanfest promises to be even bigger this year. Germanfest begins June 5, 2022 and runs until June 12, 2022. Activities will be held in various locations around Fort Wayne.

Brief history of Germanfest and highlights for 2022

According to the organization’s website, Germanfest began in 1981 “as a project to bring a German folk festival to Fort Wayne.” In the years since the early 1980s, many people have counted on Germanfest to start the summer festivals. Part of the reason for Germanfest’s existence is Fort Wayne’s connection with its sister city, Gera, Germany.

Perhaps because it is a folk festival, Germanfest is more than music, food, and beer, which is arguably plenty for some attendees. Each day of Germanfest 2022 will feature different activities. Because the opening and closing days of the festival are Sundays, German-language church services are included as part of Germanfest. Live music at area churches and on the main stage at Headwaters Park. The festivities include Family Day, Weiner Dog Nationals, GermanFest 5K Run, and Legs N’ Lederhosen. For more information visit: http://germanfest.org

Germanfest in a “post”-COVID age

The continuation of Germanfest (and other festivals) likely helps willing attendees feel as though life has returned to normal after two years of staying away from other people. Therefore, every festival is more than just a fun time. Each one becomes a celebration of humanity and the perseverance of citizens.

Germanfest 2022, and other years, is about Fort Wayne’s heritage. German language and culture played a significant role in Fort Wayne’s communities. Several downtown churches featured services and Sunday school in German and English. One such church to do so is Faith United Methodist Church at 227 Dewald St. Part of the church’s heritage is its origins as a United Brethren church, which had a significant German congregation.

Having fun at Germanfest 2022 does not require German heritage. All it requires is a willingness to have fun and perhaps learn a little bit about German culture in the process.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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