The 41st Annual Jasper Strassenfest will be held from August 1-4 in Jasper, Indiana. There will be a slew of events offered, most of which are open to all ages. Strassenfest is a German-inspired street family-oriented festival.
Thursday through Saturday are the busiest days, with the most events. The parade, which will feature a Matrix Integration float, is on Sunday. Look for Matrix Integration CEO and Jasper local Brenda Stallings, who has been given the distinctive honor of being the festival’s 2019 Hofmarchall. Brenda Stallings nominated Jasper to be the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s “Community of the Year” for 2018, an award that Jasper ended up winning. She will be featured in the convertible car during the parade as well!
Before we get further into the events, let’s start with a little history first:
In 1895 Jasper held its first German Day celebration. Parade floats celebrating and highlighting German culture were on display, singers and choirs doing German songs, dancing, and a literary address spoken in German were among the festivities Jasper locals enjoyed and participated in. Jasper’s honoring of Germany through festival celebration has been ever-evolving ever since.
In 1957 Pioneer German Days was celebrated in Jasper from July 1st through 6th. To honor this, the Dubois County Daily Herald prints a commemorative edition of the newspaper with articles written in German.
22 years went by in Jasper before another German heritage celebration was held. Members of the Jasper business community banded together to organize another one. Thus, 1979 marks the first Strassenfest. Jasper has been going strong ever since, choosing the first weekend of August for celebration, with events occurring from Thursday through Sunday. Since then, there have been many Hoffmarschalls, chairpersons, hosts & hostesses, and special guests (1981’s was Ronald McDonald from McDonald’s!).
Many of the events and attractions from the first Strassenfest are still held today, like the carnival rides, train rides, and musical performances. See below for a rundown of the various activities held at the 2019 Jasper Strassenfest!
Thursday – August 1
Thursday, August 1st, kicks off Strassenfest. There will be plenty of events for children of all ages, such as a Youth Golf Tournament, a Children’s Box Parade, and even a Baby Photo Contest! Come by the Dubois County Museum to get a look at the Strassenfest mugs, buttons, programs, and other memorabilia from past Strassenfests.
Plenty of great stuff is happening during the evening, too. There’s the official Strassenfest Opening Ceremony, lessons for traditional German dances, Das Schokospiel-a traditional German game where you can win chocolate, and a log-sawing contest.
If contests, games and dance lessons aren’t quite your thing, you can stand back and watch some great performances. There will be celebration singers. There will be a WITZ Guitar Pull where contestants will perform covers or original songs with only guitar or vocals. There will be a Waltz and Landler Dance performance if you are interested in watching poetry in motion. Lastly there will be a performance by funk band On the One.
Friday – August 2
Friday starts early with an 8 AM Coca Cola Hotshot Contest. Other morning activities include visiting the German Immigration and New Military Exhibits and getting Old German Scripts translated.
At 5 PM ‘90s cover band The Mild Thornberrys will be performing. After that, there’s a slew of other things to see and do. There will be a Kiddie Tractor Pull, Full Out Tumble and Cheer, Hodgini Gymnastics, and more.
At 6:30 PM perhaps the most anticipated event, the Hot Air Balloon event, will occur. You don’t want to miss this-it’s quite a spectacle.
There are two more band performances to watch out for in the evening: Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Press and Factor Primo. Both bands play covers from all across music history, so there’s something for everybody here.
Saturday – August 3
Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of Strassenfest, and this year is no exception. There will be activities galore from the early morn to the late eve.
The festivities kick off at 6 AM with a Backyard Chili Cook Off. Get ready to work that chili off at either the Bike Ride or the Wettlauf 5K Walk/Run. Or, do the Plein Air Painting to indulge your artsy side. There will also be a cornhole championship.
If motor vehicles are of interest to you, check out the Drive In Jeep Show, Jaycees Car Show, Antique Tractor and Farm Machinery Show, or the Ride In Motorcycle Show. There will also be the Autolauf, a rally open to all motorists.
Witness the Homebrew contest at 9:30 AM, where judges will decide on who brews the best in the beer garden. There will also be a wine fair at 10 AM.
Kids can get involved in the Jr. Firefighter Challenge, see some animals in the Pet Contest, throw down in the Jasper Dance Street Dance Party, Das Kinderspiel (Children’s Games) and the Arts & Crafts Booths. Polka Mass will also be held at Holy Family and St. Joseph.
For a little bit of history, look at the German Jewels at the Dubois County Museum and go to the tour of the St. Joseph Catholic Church and Bell Tower.
For all you athletes, you can play in the Co-Ed Dodgeball tournament or watch a Vintage Baseball game, performed like it was played back in 1863.
If you just want to listen to some good music, there will be plenty of performances happening. Strings, Inc. will entertain you with violin playing from performers aged 3 and up. Be enchanted by the talents of Megan Cristeen Martin, get a blast from the past by groups like Recycled Teenagers and the Avalons. See the Major-Minor Duo for some traditional German numbers. Throw down with the blue collar boys of Bigfoot Yancey or chill out with the Wade Baker Jazz Collaboration. Watch or get involved in the WJTS TV Talentspiel!
There are so many activities, you’ll be busy all day!
Sunday – August 4
Sunday is a wind-down. Come to St. Joseph’s German Heritage Mass and/or Precious Blood Catholic Church’s Polka Mass. Then, go to the Strassenfest Parade, which will take up the bulk of the day. Have an eye out for Brenda Stallings riding in the convertible as well as Matrix Integration’s own float! At 7 PM, close out the 2019 Jasper Strassenfest with the Celebration Singers.
This year’s Strassenfest is gearing up to be one of the best! With so many activities and fun family-friendly events, everyone will be able to have a blast celebrating German heritage. For more specific details regarding times and locations of events, visit the Jasper Strassenfest Facebook page.