Oktoberfest display focuses on Germanic heritage

Wil Petty Staff Writer

October 28, 2013

There would not be an Oktoberfest without Germany.

The celebration, which started in Munich, has now started as a celebration in Ashe County. The German Club of Ashe County, decided to put together a display explaining its heritage and history in the area at the event.

“We just felt like the Germans are part of Oktoberfest,” Kalmus said. “Since we are the only group that gets together in Ashe County, and this is the first Oktoberfest (in the county), we just felt like we should display something.”

Germans have had a long history in the county. Kalmus said the first person to explore the county was a German Bishop who had relocated to the States and had come down from Philadelphia.

While Germans would not initially settle here, Morovians, which had a German heritage would locate in the valleys and the area now known as Winston-Salem.

The organization was happy to see the town have its own Oktoberfest.

“I think (the Oktoberfest) was a great idea,” Kalmus said. “Beforehand, you would have to go to Sugar Mountain or Winston-Salem to celebrate.”

Audrey Spencer, a member of the German Club, sad that the display came from various member’s individual collections and were items they had collected.

As part of the display, the German club was dressed in Dirndls (traditional German dresses) while displaying Germanic books, beer steins and food.

“We had several people come by from Germany and said that it made them reminisce (living there),” Karin Kalmus, of the German Club said.

As part of the display the club featured a board explaining Germanic history in the High Country and German contributions to the nation.

The organization also sold stollen, which is a German Christmas cake. The cake consists of dried fruit, marzipan and sugar.

Spencer said the money raised by the drawings and food was going to support the Museum of Ashe County History at the 1904 Ashe County Courthouse in downtown Jefferson.

“It’s not as sweet as (American) fruit cakes, it’s more like a bread,” Kalmus said. “We sold all of them.”

The German Club in Ashe County meets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday at the West Jefferson Coffee House on the Backstreet.

“Anybody who is interested in the German language or has a Germanic heritage can come,” Spencer said. “You don’t have to speak German, but (members) do at different levels.”