This summer is packed full of great events celebrating our area’s rich heritage. Connersville’s Bicentennial was just a couple weeks ago, highlighting 200 years of growth and prosperity. I was honored to be a part of many of the events and thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many friends and meeting new ones. The festivals aren’t over yet though. Coming up soon is one of my favorite annual celebrations – Freudenfest on July 19th and 20th!
Commonly referred to as the biggest little German festival in Indiana, Freudenfest, meaning “fun day” was organized in 1976 by a non-profit organization that wanted to create a family-friendly celebration in Oldenburg. The mission of Freudenfest is “to provide a high quality festival that celebrates the richness of our German heritage through people having a fun day with their family and friends.” What started as essentially a block party to raise funds for Oldenburg’s preservation evolved into one of the largest German festivals around, bringing about 15,000 people from hundreds of miles away to our town of 500.
I think that’s more than enough reason to celebrate! Proceeds of the festival go towards the beautification and restoration of Oldenburg. In the past, the money raised went to our new replica of the Onion Dome atop the Old Stone Church, new tennis courts, park equipment for the Gilbert Munchel Memorial Park, Pearl Street improvements, city landscaping, Christmas decorations and much more. A scholarship is also awarded to two students to help with tuition at Oldenburg Academy.
This year’s festivities will include live music, auctions, history reenactments, programs, parades and much food and drink. Dress for the Fest is a great way to get involved by putting on your most authentic German attire on Saturday with judging from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – I will be there in my dirndl! You can also enter your Dachshund in a race, compete in several runs adding up to about 30 miles or enter your homemade wine in the wine tasting contest. There will be games for your kids and for you! For a complete festival schedule and much more information, visit www.freudenfest.com.
I have many fond memories of Freudenfests past. For at least the last 10 year I have been actively involved in the planning committee and day-of operations, doing everything from decorating the town in red and yellow to running the kitchens to pouring beer. It’s an incredible experience and I encourage everyone to come out and participate in as many of the activities as you can. I will be around all weekend, so make sure you stop me and say hello. I’m very proud of all the work that the people of Oldenburg put into Freudenfest and look forward to greeting the visitors who come from near and far to experience this fantastic event.
State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.