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Marching Bands Run the Museum Mile at the Steuben

18 Sep

Let The Parade Begin

     The unusually hot end of summer weather brought out a big crowd for the 60th annual Steuben parade on 5th Ave by the landmark Met Museum. The parade is in honor of Gen Von Steuben, who helped Gen. Washington win the Revolutionary War. It also unites Germans from abroad with those of German decent in the New York area. If you know anything about Germans, they are punctual and as usual, the parade kicked off at 12 noon sharp. The mounted police signaled the start of the parade with the lead German band and the West Point Military band each playing their respective national anthems before the reviewing stand on 78th St. and 5th Ave. As another show of unity the NYFD and their German counterparts marched up the parade route. Aside from the traditional costumes displayed by the hundreds of marchers, one of the best things about this parade is the number of bands brought in from small towns in Germany and surrounding areas to show off their style of marching bands. The first of the region came from the Black Forest in the Musikvecein Unterjettingen group. They set the tone for what would be a fine display of German culture. I have to admit, of all the parades I cover, this is the most polite parade so far.


Celebrating In Style


Let’s Have a Cold One


Endingen Marching Band


     All the marching bands had their own style and flair to it. The bands from Dresden and Murnau had a steady upbeat tone while Verband der Siebenburger Sachsen was a bit on the slow side. The Wolfenweiler Schallstadt was a group of Germans that settled in the Transylvania region of Europe. Two bands that were pretty good were the SZ Hollenstedt and SZ Bernburg with their airy float and bell sounds. But hands down the band to steal the show was the band from Endingen with their flute, drum and blaring horn section really put on a nice show for the crowd. The Austrian band followed but not in the same league. Mixed in with these marvelous German bands were German beer floats and groups representing all parts of the area, from NY, NJ and Connecticut. A welcome return was the Aqua String Band from Philadelphia, PA. Their Karneval costumes really got the crowd excited.  The crowd favorites made their annual appearance starting with the Doberman dog group, the gymnastic group of the American Turners and of course the Long Island Volkswagon Club. They always get a great welcome from the crowd. After the parade is when the party begins with festivities all throughout the city but the major one is right in Central Park with the Oktoberfest where there’s plenty of great beer on tap.

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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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