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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Children perform Laendler folk dance, 1999 Oktoberfest
Sarah Schreiber and Dennis Wessel performing a Laendler at the 1999 Oktoberfest. Photo: Hilde J. Cox

Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest 

The Delaware Saengerbund, a German-American singing society founded in March 1853, became an important social club for newly arriving German immigrants. It has become the focal point of the German community in Delaware through its annual event Oktoberfest. Although the first Volksfest was held in Wilmington's Schuetzen Park 1883, the modern Munich-style Oktoberfest first began in 1979. The roots of this fall festival are in Bavaria, when it was first celebrated as a wedding festivity for the crown prince of Bavaria on October 12, 1810. Because of weather considerations, the Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest is always held on the third week of September. Nearly 20,000 people attend the three-day festival which features Bavarian bands and folk dancing. Dancers in colorful costumes perform the Schuhplattler, or "shoe slapping" dance, along with other German folk dances, such as the Ländler. Also featured during the event are German foods, including the famous German potato salad of the Ladies of the Delaware Saengerbund.

Project documentation includes six pages of text, two 8 x 10 color photos, and a postcard and brochure on the Saengerbund.

Originally submitted by: William V. Roth, Jr., Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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