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Augustoberfest kicks off Saturday with German beer, music and more

Augustoberfest kicks off Saturday with German beer, music and more

Two cities decided to choose peace instead of engaging in a long battle of World War II.

The City of Hagerstown and its sister city, Wesel, Germany, announced their union by public proclamation on March 10, 1952.

A nonprofit organization, Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation, helps to maintain this relationship and provide scholarships to students from Hagerstown and Wesel, Germany, to travel back and forth as part of an exchange program and funds to local art and educational establishments.

Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation will host the 23rd annual Augustoberfest, a celebration of the city’s German heritage, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, off North Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown

Saturday only, the Antietam Pathfinders Volksmarch Club will organize the Volksmarch during which walkers can opt for a 5K or 10K walk. The walk begins at 8 a.m.

At 2 p.m., there will be an official keg tapping in which Mayor Bob Bruchey will give a speech followed by the German and American national anthems.

Specially chosen entertainment will replicate German culture through live bands who will perform throughout both days of the fest.

“Entertainers in the daytime are dancers, they do a variety of very authentic German dances,” said Jill Colbert, Augustoberfest chairwoman.

These dances include performances by Heidi und Heimat Echo a showband of costumed musicians who will play traditional German “drinking songs” and popular German American ones, too.

Another band, Alt Washingtonia will perform Bavarian schuhplattler dances and song customs in costumed attire. They are known to educate audiences about Bavarian and Austrian history and culture.

Colbert referred to Die Schlauberger who are set to perform in this year’s Augustoberfest as a band that has been a favorite among the crowd in previous years.

“Then in the evening we also cater to the younger crowd because we bring in a German rock and roll band and that gets the crowd going,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of people of all ages, you know, hang out as well so we really try to cater to all age brackets.”

A children’s area will be held inside a tent and will feature a “Punch and Judy Show,” which Colbert described as “a really old time-style puppet show.” 

Other children’s activities will include arts and crafts, a magic show and fairytale storytelling.

The same quality of entertainment remains a part of the festival’s yearly tradition but something new awaits this year’s attendees.

“This year we’re doing it a bit differently with our food, all of our food is under the main tent. It is prepared by the German restaurant so we really want to make sure you’re having a good experience, but this year we did add a food truck also and we’re also going to bring in German fare that will complement what we serve,” Colbert said.

In partnership with Schmankerl Stube, the German restaurant will offer foods such as bratwurst, German red cabbage and potato salad at rock bottom prices.

“We try to give you a sample of what you can get at the German restaurant for probably half the price,” Colbert said.

A sense of rich German culture will be everywhere from the scenery to the food.

“We have very small, skinny tables that enable you to be close to your friends sitting across from you so that you can have that fellowship, conversation (when) you’re under the big tent. We have murals that they can look like you’re kind of in Germany, bringing in German specific type bands so that’s really authentic along with having the German food,” Colbert said.

Top photo: Monica Davids, a member of Alt-Washingtonia Bavarian Dance Club, plays the kuhglocken during the 2017 Augustoberfest. (Herald-Mail file photo)

If you go …

WHAT: 23rd annual Augustoberfest
WHEN: 11 a.m.  to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19
WHERE: City Center Lot, 14 N. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown
COST: $5; free for those 12 and younger 

Augustoberfest Schedule 

  • 8 a.m. — Volksmarch 
  • 11 a.m. — Children's area opens 
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • 1 to 1:30 p.m. —  Alt Washingtonia
  • 1:30 to 2 p.m. — Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • 2 to 2:30 p.m. — Keg Tapping Ceremony, Official Augustoberfest kick off
  • 2:30 to 2:55 p.m. — Alt Washingtonia
  • 2:55 to 3:35 p.m. — Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • 3:35 to 4:15 p.m. —  Alt Washingtonia
  • 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. —  Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • 6 to 10 p.m. — Die Schlauberger
  • 11 a.m. — Children's area open
  • 11 a.m. to noon — Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • noon to 12:40 p.m. —  Alt Washingtonia
  • 12:40 to 1:40 p.m. — Heidi und Heimat Echo Showband
  • 1:40 to 2:20 p.m. —  Alt Washingtonia
  • 2:20 to 3:20 p.m. — Die Schlauberger
  • 3:20 to 4 p.m.  — Alt Washingtonia
  • 4 to 5 p.m. —  Die Schlauberger

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