Germans Raise Their Steins at the Steuben

27 Sep

    The end of summer usually brings a rush of energy for most as kids are getting ready for the new school year and teachers prepare for the new lessons. Unions and political groups assemble for the upcoming fundraisers and elections soon to come. A hint of fall is in the air as the inevitable change seasons is always an energetic and festive time.  Rachel and I made our way to 67th St. and 5th Ave. for the 54th annual German American Steuben Parade. This was the first of two parades featured this weekend so we would be busy. The parade attracts thousands of marchers from Germany and surrounding areas to celebrate and recognize the German contribution to both America and to New York City. The parade is named after General (Baron) Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben of the Prussian Army in Germany, who was invited by Benjamin Franklin in 1777 to join General George Washington in training the Continental Army of the American Revolution.  The parade began with the dignitaries, VIPs, and Grand Marshalls including Travel Channel’s “Passport to Europe” host Ms. Samantha Brown making their way up to the 78th St. reviewing stands.  Rachel stayed there to take some great pictures of marchers on the red carpet. I walked a little further up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where a larger crowd had gathered to revel in the largest German American event of its kind in the USA.  It was a treat to see German bands play their style of music as it different from most bands we had seen all year.


     Over 25 groups from Germany represented over 2000 marchers and some of the more notable ones included the traditional costumes of Zum Stammtisch and the Blaskapellen aus Bayeern marching band. Several floats made their way up 5th Ave. including the popular Hofbrau Munchen (trust me the beer was flowing) and the John Denver float where some of his biggest hits were sung by an entertainer. The local tri state area sent many representatives from youth soccer clubs to car clubs to marching bands. One local group that stood out was the Brooklyn Schuetzen Corp. We were all treated to a German choir, the Bremervoerder Choere, as they sang joyous songs for the crowd to join in with. A crowd pleaser came from Springerzug Herbstein with a lead man dressed as what appeared to be a court jester followed by dancing pairs of clowns.   The German American Societies of Westchester had traditional colonial army outfits and marched with steady precision.    In what can be described as the largest wooden horn this side of the Atlantic was blown by the Waterloo German band from St. Louis Missouri. The lead singer roused the crowd up with a popular oom-pah song then blew the horn and yelled Ricola. I swear I thought he was going to start tossing throat lozenges to everybody. One of the last groups was from Tirol in traditional German countryside outfits. The biggest crowd pleaser were the men with whips. As they cracked the whips firecrackers exploded much to the surprise of the crowd. Rachel and I met up with parade veteran Lee and her son William. She explained that this years parade seemed shorter and not as energetic as in previous years but did remind her of when her father used to bring her to the parades and now she’s passing the tradition to her son. All in all it was a cheerful event with many marchers heading to Central Park after the parade for Oktoberfest to tap open a keg of Hofbrau flown in from Munich just for the occasion. Now that’s what I call an imported beer.

For more photos go to the Photography links on the right under Stueben Parade

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