Parteizeit (party time)! German festival returns

August 23, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE


No, that's not what people exclaim when they see the wood-chopping musical/dance group perform. It is a group of men and women who chop and saw wood to music, creating a dance of coordination.

Holzhackerbuam, which is Bavarian for "wood chopper boys," will return for this year's Augustoberfest in Hagerstown, said Charles Sekula, event co-chairman and owner of Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant.

Augustoberfest is the local version of Oktoberfest, which began in Munich, Germany, in 1810 when King Ludwig I celebrated his marriage to Maria Therese by inviting nobles for a week of partying and jousting, Sekula said.


Oktoberfest was so popular it was continued almost every year, and eventually peasants were permitted to join in the festivities, Sekula said.

The modern Oktoberfest attracts 7.5 million people during a 16-day stretch in late September and early October.

Augustoberfest began in 1996 as a public event centered around the reunion of the Burhans family, the family of the late Hagerstown Mayor Winslow "Wick" F. Burhans.

The event promotes the area's German heritage, celebrates Hagerstown's Sister City relationship with Wesel, Germany and promotes downtown Hagerstown, Sekula said. The event also raises money for the Jane Burhans Scholarship Fund and the youth exchange program with Wesel.

The local event attracts about 2,500 people for the weekend, Sekula said.

Various Bavarian entertainment will be featured.

Heidi and Heimet Echo Band with alphorns will perform at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattler Verein (music with cow bells) performing during the former group's break.

Die Schlauberger, which plays traditional German tunes and Alpine rock, will perform from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and on Sunday afternoon.

Holzhackerbuam will perform for 20 minutes every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Various children's activities will be held both afternoons. These include storytelling, Horn's Punch and Judy Show and a magic show.

German food and beers will be sold. The menu includes Bavarian pork roast dinner with spaetzle and red cabbage, bratwurst with or without sauerkraut and Bavarian potato salad.

A Volksmarch, a noncompetitive walk with trails of varying lengths, will start at 8 a.m. at the Augustoberfest tent.

If you go ...

WHAT: 12th annual Augustoberfest

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. each day. Rain or shine.

WHERE: Festival tent in Central Parking Lot, off the first block of North Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown

COST: Admission costs $5 per day and tickets can be purchased at the gate or by calling 301-739-8577, ext. 116. Ages 12 and younger are admitted free if accompanied by a paid participant.

MORE: The Frhschoppen, a brunch, will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $100 per person. They can be purchased in advance by calling 301-739-8577, ext. 116, or at the gate, if any are available.

For more information, including scheduled activities, go to

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