It's a Schmeckfest: German Wedding, Baptism - and
Food - Highlight Eureka's German Festival
Tobin, Paulette. "It's a Schmeckfest: German Wedding, Baptism - and Food - Highlight Eureka's German Festival." Grand Forks Herald, 5 September 1999.
A German wedding and a baptism and, of course, lots of German
food will be part of the festivities at the 10th annual German-Russian
Schmeckfest in Eureka, S.D., the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 18.
A celebration of the community's ethnic heritage, the Schmeckfest
has grown from a German meal sponsored by the local Germans from
Russia Heritage Society to three days of activities, including a
German dinner, parade, a musical variety show, an antique and classic
car and tractor show, and singing and dancing.
"The in-town people appreciate it, but it's the out-of-town
people that just love it because it's a bit of their heritage they
can relive," said Laurel Stickelmeyer, Schmeckfest chair.
Eureka, a town of about 1,200 people about 75 miles northwest
of Aberdeen, S.D., is a community where many people still speak
German. Its restaurants are known for their German dishes, its meat
market for its German sausage and the local bakery for its kuchen,
a German coffee cake filled with custard and fruit. Earlier this
year Eureka residents lobbied unsuccessfully to get the Legislature
to make kuchen the official state dessert of South Dakota.
Eureka, first known as Petersburg, was incorporated in 1887 when
the railroad arrived. Eureka was the end of the tracks until 1902,
when the railroad pushed through to Linton, N.D., but for those
15 years it was the jumping-off place for thousands of Germans from
Russia who poured into the Dakotas.
It also became a major point for wheat shipping. In 1892 farmers
were bringing wheat to Eureka from as far as 60 miles away and the
Milwaukee Road shipped $2 million worth of wheat out of Eureka,
making it the primary wheat production center of the world.
This year's Schmeckfest (from a German word that means "to
taste") begins Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon, but
most events are Saturday. Downtown there will be crafts, a car and
tractor show, ethnic food and music and a parade. A shuttle will
run between downtown and the Eureka Pioneer Museum, which will be
the site of one of the day's more unique events: a real German wedding,
or hochzeit, in the little country church on the museum grounds
Stickelmeyer said the Schmeckfest committee advertised for and
found a couple who wanted to marry and who were willing to say their
vows in German. After the nuptials there will be a sampling of traditional
German wedding foods, including wedding kuchen and non-alcoholic
hochzeit schnapps. (The real stuff is made of 190-proof alcohol
and burnt sugar.) In the afternoon an infant will be baptized, also
at the museum church.
Many of the food demonstrations will be filmed for a German foodways
documentary that will premiere on Prairie Public Television in March
2000, said Michael Miller of Fargo, bibliographer for the Germans
from Russia Heritage Collection at NDSU Libraries.
Miller, along with Bob Dambach, the producer of Prairie Public
Television, and Dave Geck and Tapio Kube, also of PPTV, will be
in Eureka for the Schmeckfest filming. Miller said the new documentary
is a follow-up to PPTV's award-winning documentary, "Germans
from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie."
Part of that documentary that showed Amanda Fetzer of Wishek,
N.D., and her daughter, Lorraine Ketterling of Bismarck, making
strudles has sparked a great deal of interest in traditional German
food, Miller said.
Many who attend Eureka's Schmeckfest consider the Saturday night
dinner and entertainment the festival's high point. The meal, including
German pork sausage, knoephla with kraut, Swiss steak, potatoes,
at 5:30 p.m. with entertainment following at 7 p.m. Two public dances,
one country and one old-time music, will finish off the festivities
Zion Lutheran Church will be the site of a non-denominational
German church service at 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by a songfest
at 2 p.m.
Eureka German-Russian Schmeckfest highlights
Friday, Sept. 17
8 p.m., Eureka Bandstand musical variety show, Lyric Theater. Tickets
at the door, $5
Saturday, Sept. 18
Downtown, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Costume judging, German food sales, classic
and antique car and tractor show, craft show, old-time music, parade
at 3 p.m.
Eureka Pioneer Museum: 11:30 a.m., German wedding; 1 p.m., German
baptism. Also kuchen contest, demonstrations of shelling corn, old-time
barbershop and beauty salon and more 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Eureka
Bandstand musical variety show, Lyric Theater. Tickets, $5
5:30 p.m., Schmeckfest dinner, Eureka High School gym. Entertainment,
7 p.m., includes From The Heart of Eureka, a women's trio; German
humorist and singer Mylo Hatzenbuhler of Bismarck, N.D.; the Emter
Family band of Glen Ullin, N.D., and Fallcreek, a barbershop quartet
from Grand Forks. Advance tickets required, $12.50, call 605-284-2455.
(Tickets for entertainment only on sale at the door for $6.)
Late evening: Two public dances featuring old-time and country
Sunday, Sept. 19
11 a.m., German service at Zion Lutheran Church
2 p.m., Song fest at Zion Lutheran Church
Reprinted with permission of the Grand Forks Herald.