Media Release
April 10, 2000
Contact person: Marie Lucero
Tel: 1-800-359-6900 or 701-241-6900

Local production shines in Prairie Public Television's Spring Membership Campaign

Nearly 1,600 viewers across the prairie region showed their support for Prairie Public Television and pledged over $151,000 during the non-profit network's Spring Membership Campaign. Prairie Public Television airs three membership drives each year, in March, August and December.

The highlight of the membership drive was the overwhelming response to "Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia," the second Germans from Russia production from Prairie Public Broadcasting and the North Dakota State Universities Libraries. "We're very pleased with the results of this membership campaign, and the response to Schmeckfest," said Mary Anne Alhadeff, president and CEO of Prairie Public Broadcasting. "Locally produced programs are very important to our audiences, and it is inspiring to see so many people contributing toward a common goal. We are especially thankful to the people who welcomed the "Schmeckfest" producers into their kitchens to record these regional ethnic traditions."

"Schmeckfest," which can be translated as "festival of food," is a collection of poignant vignettes filmed in the kitchens of grandmotherly cooks who remember milking cows on cold North Dakota mornings, and in the kitchens of modern cooks who continue the traditions out of love, not necessity. "The film evokes memories of German-Russians whose tongues pronounced words in musical ways, and oak tables that slid apart so leaves could be added for visitors," said writer and narrator Ron Vossler, whose childhood memories and family history provide the historical backdrop for the documentary.

"The Germans From Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," the precursor to "Schmeckfest," is an examination of the ethnic group's history. It has aired on 70 public broadcasting stations in 26 states and four Canadian provinces. The film has received the prestigious Silver Telly Award as one of the best documentaries in America, a bronze plaque award in humanities from the Columbus 47th Annual International Film and Video Festival, and was shown to an international audience at the Third International Ethnic TV Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Prairie Public Broadcasting, headquartered in Fargo, is a non-profit organization and community licensee that provides public television services throughout North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and parts of Montana and South Dakota, and public radio service to North Dakota. In addition to broadcasting services, Prairie Public provides a wide range of educational and technological services to communities and individuals across its coverage area.

For further information about Prairie Public's videotape documentary programs of the "Heritage Series," call toll free: 1-800-359-6900.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller