Dancing Around: HK & U.G.H. Schuhplattlers Entertain at Augustoberfest, by Chris Tokarski


(Yes, that’s Oktoberfest in August)

Augustoberfest 2023 was held this past third weekend in August, the 19th & 20th in Hagerstown, MD. It’s an annual two-day event paying tribute to the German heritage of the region and proceeds support scholarships for exchange students in the Hagerstown area and Wesel, Germany, as well as other local non-profit organizations.

Members of die Heimatklänge and our dance group travelled on Friday evening to an area hotel in Hagerstown so they would be present and ready to head to the event for an early set up and 11 am start time for the band. The venue for this festival was The Washington County Agricultural Center in Boonsboro, MD just ten miles southeast of Hagerstown, surrounded by the converging mountains of western Maryland. The setting provided large open spaces with several pole-barns (large open pavilions) transformed into beer halls, fest hall, Marktplatz and a Kinderwunderland. Plenty of space for all the activities including corn hole tournament and axe throwing. The fest hall was filled with long rows of tables covered in blue and white checked plastic tablecloths and accompanying chairs. German flags were suspended from the ceiling beams. The spaces all transformed to simulate an authentic Munich Oktoberfest. The front of the hall held a raised stage for the bands and just in front of the stage, a large area on the floor for dancing.

Ed and I travelled to Augustoberfest on Saturday arriving just past noon and walked into the fest hall to the sounds of Die Heimatklänge. What better way to start the weekend festivities? We found the dance group and settled in for a day of music, dance, beer and authentic German fare. After grabbing some beers, we bought pretzels from the volunteers walking through the grounds with pretzels hanging from the traditional double T poles. Band break time and it was the German Hungarian Schuhplattlers turn to perform. The dance group entertained during each band break. Their dances included folk dances, Schuhplattler favorites, their Ehrentanz from Gaufest, some audience participation and a new “hoop dance” by the girls outfitted with beautiful wreaths. Each dance was introduced to the crowd with a short explanation and description by Marlene. Our dancers were well received by the festival goers and were complemented on their performances with requests for photos all throughout the weekend. Dancers for the weekend included: Alex Blank, Dan Galgon, Werner III, Michael Fricker, Sasha Malofiy Jr, Joey Reiter, Bob Walter with Nichole Deely, Karina Fricker, Susi Hartmann, Janet Malofiy, Mikaela Malofiy, Chrissy Malofiy, Emma Walter and Sofi Walter. The music was managed by Patty Walter and played live by Dino. Supporters included Erik Walter and Sasha Malofiy along with Ed and I.

Now let’s talk food – the menu items included bratwurst, hot dogs, pork roast platters and traditional side of German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage and spätzle. These were provided by the local Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant of Hagerstown. I think we all agreed the food was very good and well prepared. We had a choice of beer styles: Lager, Weiss, Oktoberfest, Steigl Radler and even Coors Light by the pitcher or glass. The wines included Rose, Reisling, and Dornfelder (red), along with soda and water. Souvenir steins and tumblers are available to purchase too.

Saturday’s schedule was a long one for both the HK and the dancers. The HK played all day until 5pm in the evening with the dance group performing throughout. After their performance time was over, the dancers and the band were able to be spectators for the nighttime entertainment provided by our friends die Schlauberger until 10 pm. Sunday’s schedule was shorter with a 3-hour spot by HK and a finishing 2-hour stage time for dSb until 5pm. Even with the warm temperatures of an August weekend, there was a breeze and high energy throughout the weekend. Great music, great dancing, great people, great camaraderie. Great weekend!

-Chris Tokarski

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