I have been feeling so blessed and accomplished!
For me, this Gaufest was super! The host club did a fabulous job and every Trachtler was more than ready to embrace the weekend after covid which kept us from gathering in 2021. I truly enjoyed the weekend with my club and so many friends from the Gauverband. Then, Monday was my birthday where I celebrated with friends and family and a bit of “R&R” at Brigantine Beach. Next, Post fest depression set in and me, in my weird way, I kind of stay away from Facebook pictures and posts as they depress me more that the weekend is over. So, it typically takes me a few days to go back and really embrace the pictures and memories of the weekend. I was starting to craft a Facebook post and my thoughts started flooding my brain.
Our Cultural Group was formed in 1965 to foster the continuance of the traditional and folk dances of our ethnic heritage. In the late 1960s we began performing Schuhplattler dances and at a later point in time the Cultural Committee recruited additional help to bolster our instruction and to take our repertoire to the next level. This eventually led to the official formation of the Schuhplattler group in 1976. I am thankful for those dedicated leaders, for laying the groundwork and for their vision for the future.
In April 1988, we applied for and were accepted as a member of the Gauverband Nordamerika, Inc. I was a very young lady at that time and I along with our leadership knew that this would open doors, but we did not realize to what magnitude. We did not know the long-lasting effects this would have on our club.
I had the opportunity to Preis dance on the very first U.G.H. Gruppen team in 1989 and this was an eye-opening experience. Once we were out on the floor, we knew it was just the beginning of a long run. Along with my dancing friends we have experienced it all and while we Preis danced we had our kids on the side watching and waiting for their turn. As I knew they would completely take the dance floor over someday, my hope for was for them to experience happiness, success, and good times. However, my biggest hope and dream for them was medaling and winning one day!
A dream for me has come to fruition and our hard work is paying off. Although some of the dancers have competed and won before, this year, our Gruppen team was six couples and completely made up of the next generation and this itself is a true accomplishment for the German Hungarians! This is a unique team. The group of dancers are all third generation German Hungarians with one being fourth generation. In addition to the Gruppen 3rd place win, we also congratulate two Einzel winners; Nichole Blank Deely who is third generation German Hungarian and Evangeline Noel who is a fifth generation German Hungarian. I am proud of the membership and dedication among these families as they are clearly continuing a proud tradition.
It is not only the Preis dancers that are so great to me. It is everyone who participates, dances and makes contributions to the club. As we often say, it takes a village! And it is a village that we have; from every member and friend that supports, assists, mentors and parties. It is all of you that make being a German Hungarian so special and contribute to that feeling that we have all grown to know and love.
The German Hungarians have always embraced the youth and encouraged them to participate knowing that the future and our success depends on the next generation. The dream is that each generation will go further than the generation preceding it because it can stand on the shoulders of that generation. The key is keeping all generations involved and inviting and welcoming new members. We clearly experienced everything that a Gaufest is and should be Down the Shore in 2022!
And so, they say, the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today (or yesterday or a few days ago. You get it right?). Our future looks bright and busy, and we will be right back at it for 29. Gaufest in Ohio next July. There is no time to rest; just time to plan and to dance.
In the bigger picture, our leaders will work diligently with our friends from the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe in Newark, DE to plan 30. Gaufest under the “Groβen Festzlet” to bring all trachtlers together in 2025.
Get ready for 29. Gaufest and get excited for 30. Gaufest 2025!
Janet Fricker Malofiy
of Philadelphia and Vicinity