Dancing Around: Augustoberfest with HK and DSB, by Michael Fricker

There’s a line a lot of our folks say when we get together especially after weekend after weekend of dance jobs, fests and performance dates.

“Why do we do this?”

The line is dripping with sarcasm usually and colored by staying up too late, definitely too many beers and the aches and pains of dancing three sets a day for 2 days. I know I definitely said it on the weekend our group recently spent in Hagerstown for the Augustoberfest.

A grouping of our dance group members met at the house of the first family and piled into two cars on Friday, August 19. The following traveled together (in no particular order): Sasha & Janet Malofiy, Sasha Malofiy Jr. & Chrissy Martini, Mikaela Malofiy, Alex Blank, Werner Fricker III, Karina Fricker, & Michael Fricker. Susi Hartmann & Marlene Fricker would join us as well on the weekend, but they traveled with their husbands Bill Galgon and Joe Hartmann and the other members of the Heimatklänge. The Walter family: Bob, Sofi, Patty, Erik, and Emma would all travel together arriving on Saturday the 20th.

When we arrived in the area of our hotel for the weekend, we found a bar and restaurant to refuel and have a few drinks all together. Big thanks to the First Man for picking up the first round! At the hotel soon our band caravan arrived which also included Wayne Lepp, Freddy Galgon, John Reiter, and Dino Jakovasic. Around 1:00 am that big black and purple bus rolled into the hotel lot, and it was pretty clear that Die Schlauberger had arrived! We promptly welcomed them with handshakes, smiles and a couple of cold beers.

The festival this year was in a new location from years in the past. Our dance group performed once before in 2019 at the event when it was still held in downtown Hagerstown. This year the event moved to the Washington County AG Center in Boonsboro, MD. The sprawling grounds included various covered structures for biergartens, seating, and the stage and dance floor as well as areas for vendors of merchandise. Beer and food were available for purchase. The menu of roast pork dinners, bratwurst and frankfurters were quite good. Sides included French fries, potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, spaetzle, and soft pretzels. Beers available were three varieties of Hofbräu, Stiegl Radlers, Coors Light and non-alcoholic options. Red and white wine were also sold.

Both Saturday and Sunday our dancers alternated band sets and dance performances with Die Heimatklänge first and later Die Schlauberger. Three sets of dancing were performed each day and included a variety of our repertoire. Dance like Kreuz Koenig, and Fünfer Watschen add excitement to our sets. Numbers like Figurentanz, and Küss Plattler, portray thecourtship aspect of folk and Schuhplattler dancing. Rounding out many of our sets getting the audience involved makes what we do interactive. This time around we dressed up some volunteer men in green felt “leder” hosen to dance to Reit Im Winkler and gathered folks of all ages for our square dance Kreuz Polka. Throughout our sets Marlene introduced us, and Patty helped out running the iPod when Dino wasn’t playing live.

Weekend away jobs like this one take a lot of prep work, travel time, and organizing. Once there, the dancing no matter how fun and enjoyable it is for us is intensive! It’s usually warm, and almost definitely humid. By the end of it I think everyone is tired!

Remember that question I asked earlier?

There was a moment this past weekend when I realized the true, and realistic answer to that question.

Most of our members and dancers that go along do so because they know they will enjoy the event on top of the chance to perform and make money for the group. Some of the best times of these weekends are listening to and dancing to the live music from what Werner III, called “the best two bands that ever existed.”

The other part is being together chatting with friends from our own club and any other friends we may run into. Some of us go along because we never know what time Karen David will show up, dressed to the nines and ready for fun with a smile (this time it was after 9:pm on Saturday!)

When our club and our dance group partner with great bands like Die Schlauberger and our club favorite Heimatklänge it’s easy to see why we do what we do. Adding in the wonderful volunteers and welcoming hosts from festivals like the Augustoberfest is the cherry on top. The overall fun and hard work of weekends like this are why we do it.

Michael Fricker

P.S. Thank you to Kevin Barbitsch for hiring us and organizing all the weekend entertainment. Huge thanks to everyone with the DSB especially Dominique making us feel at home and for that late night case of HB!

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