50th German-American Festival is This Weekend!

Posted Aug 26th, 2015 by Emily Loss  Category: Arts & Entertainment, Events,


Not only is the German-American Festival (GAF) the Toledo area’s oldest, largest and greatest ethnic festival, but it’s also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. The 50th GAF, operated by G.A.F. Society and sponsored by the seven German- and Swiss-American Societies in Toledo, begins 50 days from today at Oregon, Ohio’s Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd., August 28 – 30, 2015.

“It’s surprising to think that we are already celebrating the 50th German-American Festival,” Tim Pecsenye, festival chair, said. “The community has truly embraced our festival, and we’ve been thrilled to share our German culture and traditions with our community for such a long time!”

The first German-American Festival was held at Toledo’s Raceway Park on Aug. 27 and 28, 1966. It remained there until 1974, when it moved to the Lucas County Recreation Center. In 1987, the Festival was moved to its permanent home, Oak Shade Grove.

The GAF is a celebration of German and Swiss culture, including traditional foods and pastries, and more than 50 varieties of German beers. An opening ceremonies parade kicks of the Festival each year, and entertainment is provided by nationally known German bands and a range of ethnic contests – including the Hummel Look-Alike Contest, a stone-throwing contest and a pretzel eating competition. Each year, proceeds from the GAF support high school level foreign language education in the Toledo area, and awards college German Language Scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

“In the 50 days leading up to the 50th GAF, we are celebrating the festival’s heritage, good times and contributions to our community through a variety of activities,” said Pecsenye. The 50 Days of 50 Years of the GAF is currently underway on Toledo’s seven iHeartRadio stations. Visit your favorite iHeartRadio station website and answer the GAF question to enter the contest every day leading up to the festival. Prizes include 50 ticket and food packages and the grand prize, a one-year lease on a Volkswagen from Taylor Volkswagen of Findlay. iHeartRadio stations in Toledo include 92.5 KISS FM (WVKS-FM), 101.5 The River (WRVF-FM), 104.7 Toledo’s Rock (WIOT-FM), 103.7 New Country (WCKY-FM), 94.9 The Beat (BVKS-FM), 1370 NewsRadio (WSPD-AM) and 1230 Fox Sports (WCWA-AM).

Visit an iHeartRadio station website for all of the contest details, and to see and share all the great photos of GAF’s first 50 years. The GAF’s Facebook and Twitter pages will keep fans updated about the 50 Days of 50 Years of the GAF, as well as everything happening during the 2015 GAF.

About the German-American Festival: The Festival is operated by GAF Society, which is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It is sponsored by the seven German- and Swiss-American societies in Toledo, and is intended to promote and enhance the German and Swiss cultures, as well as generate revenue to support the German and Swiss cultural center in Oregon, along with a variety of scholarship, athletic and philanthropic programs in the Toledo area.


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