United in Fun, by Michael Fricker

The German Hungarians have a saying, you make your own fun. It could be extended to read “you make your own fun, despite whatever circumstances might be standing in opposition to what would conventionally be considered ‘fun.’” Recent times have been anything but conventional fun. The thing is, dear friends, if you make your own fun, it does not matter if it is conventional or not. 

2020 was meant to be the 110th Anniversary of the United German Hungarians. The event has since been rescheduled a few times and we are working on plans now to finally get our celebration together this year. COVID-19 did not stop us from celebrating on our original March 2020 date, however. Many of our members, friends, and fellow clubs took to social media to celebrate with photos, videos, well wishes, and even a zoom call amongst our club members. I think it would be safe to say that a good time was had by all.  

Over the summer it was nice to be able to get outdoors and see people. We attended as a group the outdoor biergarten at the Cannstatter V.V. It was a cheerful experience to dance one Schuhplattler with friends from the GTV Almrausch Philadelphia on a warm summer night.  

The summer allowed us some opportunity to practice outdoors. We were even able to hold an event we as German-Hungarians hold very dearly; the Kirchweihfest. It may have looked a little differently than it usually does. But the smiles of pride on the faces of our dancers told a story that day all on their own. We were so glad our members, and our friends from fellow clubs attended this event with us. Like any event, the people are what make it.  

Our dance group has been staying connected weekly with zoom sessions. It has been a terrific way to get to see one another on what our normal rehearsal night would be. The older dancers and members meet for trivia sessions by zoom usually consisting of four ten question rounds. The children’s group has also been meeting by zoom to sing songs and it is a fantastic way for our children to still get to see one another.  

Another event that had no luck with dates and schedules was our club Christmas Party. While we were not able to hold the event, the Children’s group has already been working hard in socially distanced practices to prepare a program for the evening. Technology allowed them to still get together to perform their Christmas songs for a small audience in person while broadcasting by Facebook live for all to see. The picnic grove at the Phoenix Sport Club gave us a great backdrop for this affair. This virus has changed so much of what we do, and Children have been hit the hardest. I commend our leaders for all the challenging work and organizing they have done to keep our Children’s group engaged with our club but more importantly, with one another.  

In recent weeks we have changed to a schedule having zoom get togethers one week on a Tuesday and having in person practice the next. Another saying we have is We like to see people, but more we like to be seen! This every other week schedule has been a great benefit to holding our people together. Going to practice on a Tuesday and your friends are there, your parents are there, your children are there is a feeling of conventional I will take any day of the week. The year 2020 and now 2021 has tested these sayings more than we ever could have imagined. I can say with a strong feeling of truth that the German Hungarians are making our own fun and will continue to do so.  

We look forward to being able to see more of our Schuhplattler friends. When the weather grows warmer, and we can gather outdoors again.   

Michael N. Fricker

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was originally published in the Gauverband Nordamerika’s Gauzeitung in 2021. It was authored by Michael N. Fricker.

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