Germans Raise Their Steins on the Steuben Day Parade

18 Sep

  The end of summer in the city usually means an end to a busy season and ushering in the start of the fall months. A chill in the air and brisk wind certainly made the day feel as it was mid October and it may have added to the excitement building up on 5th Ave. and 49th St. where the 55th annual Steuben Parade was getting ready to kick off. The parade culminates a week-long of festivities all throughout the city. As I was waiting for the parade to make its way up to 79th St. by the reviewing stand, a bystander asked why it was the German Parade and not the Italian or Irish Parade..ugghhh…newbie… so I had to explain the parade is to honor German culture but more importantly to remember the contributions of General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to the young nation of America. What surprised me even more was the young that asked was of German heritage and didn’t know about Steuben. I told her to stick around because the German bands that come in to perform are really good and might remind her of the Motherland.    After the honorable Mayor Bloomberg marched on by with parade organizers and dignitaries, the first of the German bands appeared in Fueuerwerkapelle Vorden. They were very good but not to be outdone by the band from Wurrtemberg.

     Every parade has a life of its own and some are more subdued than others. The Germans tend to politely applaud the marching bands and costumed marchers. Once in a while someone will yodel and get a nice response from the crowd. One of the more lively floats was from Zum Stammtisch with a fun song for folks to clap their hands to and get pumped up. The timing could not have been any better because they were followed by a float of lovely ladies and beer…nice combination. Speaking of combinations, the crowd was treated to a German band from Melle and a visiting band from Missouri called New Melle. One of the best costumed marchers from the Revolutionary Era were the Ehrengarde Marching band soon followed by another German band from Bakum.  A crowd favorite is the Volkswagon Club from Long Island with their classic Beetle. A new participant to the parade was the Aqua Marching band from Philadelphia with their crazy costumes and happy songs that got the crowd worked up.  Hope they return next year  as they were a special treat. A group that makes heads turn all the time are the winners of the longest beards and mustaches. Saving the best band for last were the band from Florsheim. They were the creme de la creme and showed everyone why they were the best band at the parade. All in all it was a fun parade with a fine display of German culture, music and costume. Most of the  crowd gathered in Central Park for the annual Oktoberfest and drink lots of beer and eat and dance their tails off for some fun times.

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