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German heritage celebrated downtown

Music and culture highlighted by Hagerstown festival

Music and culture highlighted by Hagerstown festival

August 24, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

In two weeks, die Schlauberger will be performing a pregame show and the national anthem at a New York Mets game at Shea Stadium - and not for the first time - but it's not likely to be as engaging as the group's performances this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday, the German band will perform at Augustoberfest in downtown Hagerstown for the second time. The local German festival allows band members to better connect with the audience than the massive crowds at a big-league ballpark, says Kevin Barbitsch, drummer and emcee. The band can read the audience with its up-close performance at the festival to determine what music to play, says Barbitsch, who described Augustoberfest as a wonderful event with great people.

The two-day festival celebrates Hagerstown's German heritage and Sister City affiliation with Wesel, Germany, with Bavarian food and entertainment.

Die Schlauberger, which has been together for 16 years and tours nationally, will play traditional German tunes and Alpine rock, as well as some American tunes.

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Alpine rock is like American rock with heavy yodeling and electric guitar - like polka with a twist, Barbitsch says. Younger people tend to like the Alpine rock songs.

Barbitsch says it's important to get young people interested in the music and culture because the future of the festival tradition relies on younger people remaining interested.

Much of the music is up-tempo, and the band encourages dancing.

Die Schlauberger is one of three bands that will perform at Augustoberfest. A Bavarian folk dancing group also will perform.

A Volksmarch, a noncompetitive walk, will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26. Distance options are five or 10 kilometers with an option to add an extra kilometer.

A German brunch will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, for sponsors and ticket-holders, though there are a limited number of tickets for sale. Tickets cost $100.

Children's activities this year include a Punch and Judy puppet show, storytelling, a magic show, arts and crafts, clowns and more.




If you go to the festival ...



WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. Gates open both days at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Central parking lot in downtown Hagerstown, off the first block of North Potomac Street

COST: $5 per day; free admission for children 12 and younger with a paying adult. Tickets available at the door or buy in advance at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Welcome Center, 6 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown, or call 301-791-3246. The CVB charges a $1 service fee per order for advance tickets.

MORE: For more information, go to www.augustoberfest.org or call 301-739-8577, ext. 116.Food and beverages cost extra.

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