Gaufest in Toledo, OH in 2009, by Emily Fricker


The Preparations

The German Hungarians had prepared for quite some time for the various aspects of this fest. The dances, the clothing, the food and drink, the transportation and the hotel, were thoughtfully arranged in advance. The Schuhplattler Group usually practices weekly but those who planned to be in the prize plattling had practiced more often. The entire adult Schuhplattler Group had practiced for a special “Ehrentanz” while two prize adult single plattler couples and a number of youth single couple plattlers practiced earnestly.

Fifty-one members and friends arrived at the club on Thursday morning, August 13th at 6 AM. Coffee and donuts were provided and by 7:30 AM we were packed and on our way headed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike towards Ohio. About 30 others in approximately seven cars traveled on their own and would meet us in Toledo.

The Roadside Picnic

After a few rest stops, we stopped for the roadside picnic at a turnpike rest stop with a picnic grove. The women had prepared schnitzel with various salads and condiments, and all enjoyed this delicious repast. Although we had fun throughout the trip, we were now to take on a new atmosphere. Maria Antoniak took out her accordion and song sheets were given to the younger members, and we began singing German folksongs. What fun!!!  As we have always enjoyed singing, this was to be one of our best fun times. The entire fifty strong belted out the songs with “German Lust.”  Now traveling on the Ohio Turnpike, we arrived at the Crown Plaza Hotel around 5:00 PM.

The Crown Plaza Hotel

We had noticed immediately how clean the city of Toledo was. The hotel was the same, elegant and clean. Many of those who had driven by car had arrived earlier and happily greeted us. There was time to unpack and meet in our BS Room. This is a room that we always occupy so that we all have a place to gather together to make plans and to eat, drink and be merry! We also invite friends from various clubs to join us. The furniture is moved to the side or dismantled, and we are sure to return it all to the same place. It’s like a great big family room.

Thursday’s Welcome Dance

We all attended this dance which was held in our hotel’s grand ballroom. Beer, wine, soda, and Weissbier were included in our ticket which was paid in advance. Mixed drinks and food are available at cost. Music was provided by a local band called “Spass” who did a great job. They were especially good at their yodeling. There were also some “Ehrentaenze” during the intermissions. Dance hours were 8 to 12 midnight. There are always some after hour parties including fun in our BS Room, but to tell you the truth, this SC (Senior Citizen) went to bed before 12, so I can’t report on any of these.

Friday’s Frühschoppen

The usual Frühschoppen took place Friday, August 14 from 8 to 10:30 AM in the Grand Ballroom of the Seagate Convention Center. Reservations were required and members Jim Pack and Heinz (Hoagie) Guckert attended.

Adult Einzelplattler

After breakfast, we either took a leisurely walk or rode the buses provided from our hotel to the convention center which was approximately a distance of about three long city blocks.

The Adult Einzelplattler began at 10:00 AM and continued to approximately 1:00 PM.

Forty-six couples competed in the 16 to 34 age group. Congratulations to Alex Blank, 21, of our club and his partner, Alissa Row, 22, of the Auerhahn Schuhplattlers, Oley, PA who placed 10th, and to Michael Fricker, 16, who competed for the first time and his partner Nichole Deely, 27, both of our club who placed 37th. These are the only dancers from our club who competed in the Adult Einzelplattler. Twenty-two couples competed in the 35 to 49 age group, eight couples competed in the 50 to 59 age group and five couples competed in the 60+ age group.


There were various workshops throughout the weekend. On Friday, some attended the Tracht Measuring Workshop and the Wirtshauslieder Workshop while our youth attended the Jugend Dance Workshop. There were also meetings for the Vorplattlers (John Reiter 1.Vorplattler and Alex Blank 2.Vorplattler), the Fahnentraeger (Werner Fricker III, Dan Galgon, and Rolf Stielow), and others. There was also a Goassi (Whips) Workshop and a Schafkopf Tournament. Friday’s Workshops took place in the Park Inn Hotel and the Crown Plaza.

Friday Evening Entertainment

A Heimatabend followed by a Boarischer Tanz was held at the Seagate Convention Center and a few of our group chose to attend. Most attended the Welcome Dance which was held in our hotel. The band again was “Spass,” and various dance groups performed their “Ehrentaenze.”  The dance floor was filled with happy dancers, and all had a great time!!!

Late night fun continued in our BS Room. Many had to go to bed early as tomorrow was the Group Prize Plattling Competition.

Saturday- A Busy Schedule

Saturday was a busy day with a hectic schedule beginning with the Group Prize Plattling at 9 AM at the Seagate Convention Center. Sixteen groups participated and the winners would be announced on Sunday at the Picnic at 3:00 PM.

Our Prize Team consisted of:

John Reiter – Connie Reiter

Dan Galgon – Janet Malofiy

Rolf Stielow – Karen David

Werner Fricker III – Lisa Fricker

Alex Blank – Susi Hartmann

With Marlene Fricker as coach and Maria Antoniak as the accordion accompanist.

There was time for lunch and then our youth participated in the Jugend Einzelplattler. We had the largest number of couples participating:

Sasha Malofiy Jr. – Michelle Paul

Joey Reiter – Kristin Reiter

Stevie Paul – Mikaela Malofiy

Sasha Malofiy Jr. – Fallon Weyershaeuser

Josh Meck (Auerhahn) – Allysa Reiter

Joey Reiter – Karina Fricker

The youth are only critiqued and are not rated.

We now hurried back to our own hotel to change into our Bavarian Tracht for the Mass and the Banquet.

The “Bauernmesse” was held in the Convention Center and was attended by many of the Gaufest attendees. It was a beautiful event and quite a few of our members were able to attend. A bus then picked us up to take us to Oak Shade Grove in Oregon, Ohio to attend the Banquet Festivities.

During the impressive Parade of Flags, our new “Fahnentraeger”(Flag carrier) Werner Fricker III proudly carried our flag. A delicious dinner was served, and various welcome addresses were heard by the Gaufest chairman, the 1. Gauvorstand, and local officials. Later six dance groups performed their “Ehrentaenze”( these dances were performed by other groups throughout the weekend.). Our group had been requested by the host group to perform during this evening and we proudly performed for the first time “A Laendler Potpourri.”  There were fireworks later and finally the Einzelpreisplattler Awards were announced. (see previous issue for our dancer’s ratings). Music was by Die Sandler a group from Germany who had played at our Oktoberfest the previous year. Four more clubs performed their Ehrentaenze and at 12 midnight, the banquet ended.

We returned by bus to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, and many enjoyed the various hospitality rooms.

Sunday Picnic and Farewell Dance

The buses began departing from both hotels at 10:30 AM for Oak Shade Grove. A Brass Band, Die Fichtler Buam Band played music and Ehrentaenze continued throughout the afternoon. Food was served until 2:00 PM while the Parade of Flags was again at 1 PM. The Awards were announced at 3:00 PM. Only the first five are announced and we were happy to be.

in that group.

The Gaufest Gruppen Preis Plattler results were:

  1. Bayern Verein Newark – Newark NJ
  2. STV Bavaria-Cleveland, Ohio
  3. GTEV Maple Leaf Almrausch-Ottawa, Ontario
  4. TEV Edelweiss-Denver, Colorado
  6. SVEV D’Oberlandler – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  7. Gemuetlichen Enzianer – Franklin Square, NY
  8. SG Edelweiss – St. Paul Minnesota
  9. Auerhahn Schuhplattler – Oley, PA
  10. SVV Original Enzian, Franklin Square, NY
  11. Edelweiss Passaic = Passaic, NJ
  12. SG Alpenland – Montreal, Quebec
  13. BSC Holzhacker Buam – Toledo, Ohio
  14. Almrausch Altoona PA
  15. Bavarian Club Edelweiss – Westchester, NY
  16. Alpenland Tänzer – New Britian, Connecticut

There was a new scoring system introduced this year for the judging. It is interesting to note that number one’s impression was 95 and their total was 392. The number sixteen impression was 56 and their total was 247. The German Hungarians impression was 91 and the total was 367.

Our club was awarded a plaque for the Meist Prize (a prize for having the most attendance).

At eight o’clock the Farewell Dance took place at our hotel. Since “Klinger” a character of the TV Series “MASH” was from Toledo, the hosts decided to use this TV series for the theme of their Farewell Dance. Many came in regular clothing; many came in semi-Mash theme but quite a few really went all out and it was a riot! Prizes were awarded in various categories and among the children our Christopher Deely Junior won as “Baby Mash.”  Of course, it was kind of fixed since the winner was chosen by the applause of the crowd and since we had the most people and lots of friends there, three-month-old Christopher won. However, since there was a terrific four-year-old dressed as “Hot Lips Houlihan;” Nichole gave the prize to her.

Later, we returned to the BS Room and partied to the wee hours of the morning.

Monday, Farewell Toledo

On Monday morning, we said farewell to many old and new friends as well as those of our members who would be leaving by car. The bus headed for Pennsylvania and home. It was a good Gaufest. We were happy with all our dancers. We had many hours of camaraderie with old and new friends and are eagerly looking forward to the 23. Gaufest in Orlando, Florida on June 30 to July 3 with the STV Maigloeckchen of Daytona Beach, Florida.


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