A Review of Gaufest in Sandusky, OH by Karina Fricker & Michael Fricker

L to R: (on stair) Adam Dickmann, John McFadden, Jason Noel, John Reiter (Ehrenvorplattler), Nick Walter, Bob Walter, Alex Blank (1. Vorplattler), Dino Jakovasic (Musikwart), Joe Reiter, Michael Fricker (Archivar), Jakob Hubert, Werner Fricker III (2. Vorplattler), Sasha Malofiy, Bill Galgon (Honorary President), John Hubert, Chris Deely, Jaxon Olszewski, Danny Galgon; (center back row) Allysa Reiter, Karina Fricker (Vortänzerin), Emma Walter (Cultural Group Chair), Kristen Reiter, Mikaela Malofiy, Michelle McFadden (Schuhplattler Group Secretary); (standing front row) Sasha Malofiy Jr. (Fahnenträger), Janet Fricker Malofiy (President), Allyssa Schulz-Fricker, Marlene Fricker (Coach), Evie Noel, Brianne Galgon, Nichole Blank Deely (Secretary), Charlotte Galgon, Christina Malofiy, Joey Galgon, Karin Schulz, Susi Hartmann, Connie Reiter, Barbara Reiter, Jenn Blank, Kirsten Blank, Christine Olszewski, Karen Mahadevan, Kim Walter; (seated) Sofi Walter (Trachtenmutter), Erik Walter, Patti Walter, Christopher Deely; (nicht im Foto) Michael K Fricker, Stevie Paul.

Traveling in Safari

Recently we went on safari to one of our most frequently visited states in the union. The trip to Sandusky, OH was a car ride for some, a carpool for others, and I think a few may have flown in as well. I can’t be sure but I do not think anyone came by train, and even fewer could have come by boat.

So much of the preparations for a Gaufest trip are about the how will we get there. And often times the getting there is an adventure unto itself. Like the theme of the resort we were traveling to, I have already heard some stories about our members and friends and the “safari,” it was to get there. It’s always nice after a long journey to see familiar faces when you arrive. When my family pulled up at the Kalahari we rolled Michael K’s little red wagon into the lobby to see Aunt Marlene and Jeanette Lau briefly before we found the quickest way to the waterpark.

-Michael N. Fricker

The Kalahari & Waterpark

Some of our members were familiar with the Kalahari having been to the Gaufest here in 2013. Still, that was 10 years ago and as a result Thursday was a great getting to know your surroundings day. The water park areas both indoor and outdoor was a great place for families of all ages and walking through the outdoor area it seemed you could see fellow dancers peppered in amongst the other guests having a nice time. It is always a little strange to see these friends not wearing Lederhosen and Dirndl as they typically are!


The Thursday Welcome Dance

Once we all got settled in our rooms and the BS room was decorated and set up, there was only one thing left to do: Welcome our members and friends to Gaufest!! Thursday night calls for the Welcome Dance, which is a great way to meet and greet friends from clubs all over North America.

We met in our hospitality suite and took many assorted group photos. It was special to see even our youngest members wearing their personal trachten Möde. We, the German Hungarians, made our way down to the convention space at the Kalahari and found some tables, close to the band of course!  

We enjoyed watching some Thursday night Ehrentanze and settle into “Gaufest Mode.” It was convenient that you could purchase food a la carte in the convention area and so many of us took advantage of that. Along with the Hofbräu beer was so carefully poured for the Gau NA! Our littlest members at Gaufest – Charlotte, Joey, Kurt, Michael K, Wil, Kirsten, and Erik – had a great time listening and dancing to the band. It was a great event and a lovely way to welcome us to the 29. Gaufest at Kalahari Resort.

-Karina Fricker


Friday morning the many, many competitors and the various spectators gathered in two side by side rooms for these individual competitions. 15 of our dancers competed from the children through the older age adult groups. The following members were entered into the Einzelpreisplatteln:

Age 12-15
Evangeline Noel and Jakob Hubert (Evie judged)
Age 16-34
Michelle Paul and Stephen Paul (both judged)
Allysa Reiter and Werner Fricker III (Allysa judged)
Emma Walter and Jakob Hubert (both judged)
Mikaela Malofiy and Sasha Malofiy Jr. (Both judged)
Age 35-49
Allysa Reiter and Werner Fricker III (Werner judged)
Nichole Blank Deely and Alex Blank (both judged)
Brianne Galgon and Danny Galgon (Brianne judged)
Jugend Einzeplatten
Joey Galgon and Charlotte Galgon (both critiqued)

In addition, a few of our members danced in the Einzel registered with the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe, Delaware. Great job Allyssa Schulz-Fricker as well as Michael K who “danced” not just with his partner Eva Kane from Delaware but stepped up to dance with cousin, Charlotte Galgon when she was in need as well. It seemed our boy Joey had a little stage fright when it was his turn, but we know next time he will be ready to go having conquered that fear!



It was Friday night and that calls for the Heimatabend! Our cultural group committee chose to wear our Blue Danube Tracht for this event. One thing we pride ourselves on is all of us having the same attire from head to toe. When wearing this tracht, everyone looks crisp and clean in the bright blue color, which we named “Blue Danube.”   Friday was a special day for two of our members, Jakob Hubert and Michael K Fricker as it was their birthdays!! When we got to the event, Michael K had his wagon with birthday hats inside, which incited a lot of birthday wishes from friends all around. It is always special to share a birthday with a fellow club member, and to celebrate at Gaufest, even better!   The Heimatabend of Gaufest is always entertaining, with different clubs and groups performing throughout the night. We had the pleasure of listening to our friends from Enzian Musikanten from Delaware. We also enjoyed some more Ehrentanze and caught up with friends from all over.   With competition day approaching, many of us called it a night in order to get some much-needed sleep for the next day. Our team enjoys spending time together the night before, so some of our team members gathered in the BS room to wind down, while others went to bed. It was only a few hours until the engaging Gruppen competition!


Gaufest 2025 T-Shirts

As we did in Atlantic City, our members and the members of Delaware could be seen around the Gaufest wearing beautiful blue t-shirts and golf shirts with our 2025 Gaufest logo. The best advertisement we think is a group of smiling faces wearing a matching color! In addition to our own members, the hosts of the Gaufest in 2025 spent Friday night’s dance and Heimatabend giving shirts to the members of the Gau-Ausschuss as a thank you for their support, and all their work for the Gauverband. We hope they all were happy to be added to our group of matching smiling faces over the weekend and the next two years!



It was a bright and early Saturday morning- the day of the Gruppen Preisplattln competition. We decided as a group for the girls to meet at 7 am to start hair braiding, and the boys to come later. Thanks to all, especially Connie Reiter for making coffee and setting up breakfast food items for us. We gathered, had some breakfast, and Kim Walter started completing our competition hair! We enjoyed some music and the team talked and relaxed while we got ready.   Special thanks also to Sofi Walter for putting the finishing touches on us! Once the process was complete, the United German Hungarians 2023 Gruppen Preisplattln Team made their way down to the convention center. The team was as follows:

 Alex Blank- Mikaela Malofiy
Werner Fricker III- Allysa Reiter
Sasha Malofiy Jr.- Michelle Paul
Stevie Paul- Kristen Reiter
Danny Galgon- Karina Fricker
Jason Noel- Emma Walter
Alternates: Jakob Hubert- Nichole Blank Deely
Coach: Marlene Fricker and Sasha Malofiy
Accordionist: Dino Jakovasic  

We checked in and made our way through the back rooms before we finally got to dance! We were group number 8 out of 12. We were all in good spirits and took our group photo, went through all the staging rooms, the practice room, and finally- after a bit of a delay- took the floor!  

We were all ready and excited, thanks to Heike, our liaison from STV Bavaria, and Sasha and Nichole who accompanied us and gave us some words of encouragement. Finally, the Vorplattler was ready and Dino marched us onto the floor.

We felt nothing but club pride, a bit of nerves, and a lot of excitement to put our best dance on the floor- and that we did.   Once we completed the Schlussfigur and the march out, congratulatory hugs were given all around and we were greeted by family and friends with words of well wishes. We were proud of what we accomplished out on that dance floor, and we represented the German Hungarians well. It was so much fun- I wanted to do it all over again.  


Mass & Parade of Flags

A Catholic Bauernmesse was held on Saturday afternoon and from all reports the event was a beautiful, prayerful and peaceful event.

A great and colorful, exciting part of every Gaufest is the parade of flags on Saturday evening that opens the Banquet festivities. As they did in 2013, STV Bavaria invited clubs to have their dance competitors march along with their flag or banner into the event. A little miscommunication on the start time of this parade meant our dancers didn’t make it in to march with our flag. In a rare moment it started early!

It was a pleasure to watch our flag carried by Sasha Malofiy, Jr. and our banner pole carried by Danny Galgon. Of course Joey Galgon followed along with his father, an important assistant to the carriers. Because we are the co-hosts of the 30. Gaufest, our club and the folks from Delaware were fairly early in the lineup and it was fun to see the flags and strong carriers together.



The banquet at Gaufest is a nice way to sit down with your friends and club members and enjoy a nice, relaxing meal. Our club chooses to give assigned table seats, so it is easy to find your table when you arrive. The banquet meal was delicious, consisting of pork and sauerkraut, braised beef and delicious green beans and mashed potatoes. We enjoyed the dinner and continued the festivities, feeling proud and relieved that the competitions were completed. One more thing had to be done, though! Saturday night in the first band break, we were slotted to perform our Ehrentanz.

Our dance was found by Vorplattler, Alex Blank from a Chiemgau performance on Youtube. It was called Dianei Schottisch Marsch Plattler. We learned it in about four practices and included all of the active dancers in our Schuhplattler group, including a member from Enzian Volkstanzgruppe, Jayden Biesenbach. Thank you, Jayden!! We chose this dance because it was interesting and fun, making a lot of shapes on the dance floor and allowing us to show our strengths. We definitely enjoyed this dance, and we hope you did too!  

We also enjoyed watching other clubs perform and spent the rest of the banquet enjoying the live music and spending time with friends from our club and others! At the end of the night, we got changed into our blue 2025 Gaufest shirts and had a fun night in the resort!


Kids from One to Ninety-Two

One of the aspects of the Gauverband Nordamerika and the Gaufest itself that early on hooked the members of our club was the heightened time to spend together and the potential for new friends to be made. Over the years the German Hungarians have made friends with individuals and with other clubs as a whole. The Gaufest is an essential place for members of all ages to develop new friendships and strengthen old ones. It was fun to watch our younger members, who now we can say are actually teenagers do all of this this time around.


L to R: Jaxon Olszewski, Mal Creveling (EVTG), Neveah Grubb (EVTG), Christopher Deely, & Evie Noel.

Picnic & Awards

The picnic or Festtag, featured an extensive hamburger buffet, and of course various refreshments from sodas, teas, and beer.

When it finally became time for the award announcements to be made, the feeling of the Sunday picnic changed. Many people who might have been mingling around the hall return to the area their club is seated. Little kids sometimes find a spot close to the edge of the dance floor so they can see and hear what is about to happen.

They announced the winners of the Meistpreis, BSC Holzhacker Buam, Toledo, Ohio, with 89 people in attendance; the Weitpreis, BHTV Golden Gate, San Francisco, California. The Winners of Schafkopf was Tom Vogt, Alpenrösl, St. Catharines, Ontario with John Edelhauser, Edelweiss Detroit, Michigan the Solo-König.

In the Einzelpreisplatteln annoucements the highlights for our club was the girls aged 12-15. Evangeline Noel won 2nd Place in that category and we are very justly proud of her. This is the second time Evie placed in that category having brought home a 3rd place medal last year in New Jersey.

See all the results at www.gauverband.com

Then the room seemed to get quiet and still no matter how loud it actually may have been. A focus takes over as they move towards announcing the top five teams in Gruppenpreisplattlen.

In 5th place was the host of this wonderful Gaufest, the STV Bavaria, from Cleveland.

In 4th place our friends from Long Island, NY the SVV Original Enzian.

Each of these groups went up to the front to receive a plaque for their placement.

“Our 2023 Gruppenpreisplattling 3rd Place winner is…UNITED GERMAN HUNGARIANS.”

And so our team along with their coaches, and our president went up to receive their awards and perform their honor dance. Dino struck up that familiar and exciting march that brought them on to the floor. They danced with joy, a well deserved performance German Hungarians everywhere can be proud of.

When all the awards were announced the top five clubs were ranked as follows:

  • 1st – SG Edelweiss, St. Paul, MN
  • 2nd – GTV Almrausch, Philadelphia, PA
  • 3rd – United German Hungarians, Philadelphia, PA
  • 4th – Schuhplattler VV Original Enzian, NY
  • 5th – Schuhplattler und Trachtenverein Bavaria, Cleveland, OH

Congratulations to SVV Original Enzian, STV Bavaria, SG Edelweiss for wonderful performances. A special congratulations to our fellow Philadelphia, Pennsylvania friends the GTV Almrausch on a job well done. Cheers to their 100th Anniversary in 2025.


Safari party

The last event of the Gaufest weekend is a farewell dance that usually has an accompanying theme. Its a chance to get out of Trachten costumes and enjoy the last few hours of the event! In keeping with the venue the theme was safari. We saw many animals, crocodile hunters, Indiana Joneses, and so much more.


On the road to 2025

And so, Monday rolled around where most of us would have to get back on the road to make our “Safari” home. Even though many were packing up, unloading hotel rooms, loading up vehicles and saying last minute morning farewells, I certainly was thinking about how nice a weekend it was and how successful a Gaufest it was for our club. Yes, we competed and were awarded some medals for our efforts. This is after all the main reason we attend these functions and have been since 1989. Our Preis team put a major amount of effort unto training, but so too do our many members who though they may not be dancing on the team are just as important to that win. Everyone that is part of the club is part of our team.

It was also a wonderful Gaufest overall. Well run, planned and enjoyable. To the members of Schuhplattler und Trachtenverein Bavaria, bravo, we thank you.

Read about Everything We Know (so far) about the 30. Gaufest in 2025

That road home was for some folks more direct, others made stops across the way for various reasons, including the Flight 93 Memorial. Many were caught in a wild thunderstorm but made it home safe and sound. That road home also points us towards the 30. Gaufest in 2025. We are excited to co-host with the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe and show our fellow dancers and friends another Gaufest with a different style at the Delaware Sangerbund; like it says on our Gaufest emblem:

“Wie dahoam in Bayern unterm Großen Festzelt.”


The featured image is a group photograph taken on Sunday at the Gaufest after the awards were announced. The photo was taken by Bobbi-Ann Lineman. It shows our members (minus a few) together and strong in 2023.

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