During the legislative session, when new laws are being vetted and important decisions are being made, I make it a priority to keep you informed of what is going on at the state level. Although we are still hard at work during the summer months by serving on interim study committees, the summer allows me to spend more time in the district and be engaged in the events happening locally.
Last week, having traveled the district attending the various 4-H fairs, I shared with you all the wonderful opportunities that participating in 4-H provides for our young Hoosiers. Not only does 4-H help them reach their full potential, but it also brings communities together. This week, I want to continue with the ‘fair theme’ with another long-standing Jasper tradition: Strassenfest.
While the First German Day Celebration was held in Jasper nearly 120 years ago, the first Strassenfest was not held until 1979. Members of the Jasper business community came together to organize the event as a way to honor our small town’s German heritage. This celebration was the first of its kind since Pioneer German Days in 1957.
Since 1979, and every year after, the Jasper Strassenfest has been a four-day event held during the first weekend in August. Six years later, a sister city partnership with the village of Pfaffenweiler, Germany was established, and a few residents of Pfaffenweiler even attended the festival.
With something for the whole family to enjoy, the Strassenfest never disappoints. There are rides and games for the kids, German beverages for the adults and great food for everyone, which is all prepared by local clubs and organizations. It has been said that an average of over 1,300 pounds of bratwurst are consumed during the event, and having worked that booth a time or two, I definitely believe it!
For several years, I enjoyed playing in the German Band on the Schnitzelbank Restaurant float. In addition, my wife and I have enjoyed working at the baseball throw game and the basketball hoop-shoot game, and we have spent many nights working at other booths, grilling bratwurst and selling those infamous lemon shake-ups. However, one thing you cannot miss is the big parade on Sunday.
The Strassenfest is not just for the residents of Jasper. In fact, people come from all over, even as far as Germany, to have a good time! Every year the festival gets bigger and bigger and has grown to encompass the entire downtown city square. If you have a smartphone and are looking for a convenient way to find more information, I encourage you to download the free Jasper Strassenfest app. The app includes listings of events and details, contact information and food booth hours and selections.
If you have not had a chance to witness this truly entertaining event, I encourage you to give it a chance! On the other hand, if you have already been to Strassenfest, I know that it will not take much convincing for you to return. Whether you are trying it out for the first time, or have grown up attending this festival, I look forward to sharing this time with you, and I cannot wait to see you there!