Strassenfest returns with jam-packed weekend

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — Canceling the 2020 Strassenfest due to COVID-19 was one of the hardest decisions Chairperson Bob Bleemel ever had to make.

“A very wise person once said: You don’t appreciate what you have until you don’t have it,” he wrote in a press release in January when initial information about the 2021 fest was released.

This year’s Strassenfest will hopefully look very similar to previous years. Jasper’s annual fest will kick off Thursday evening and run through Sunday afternoon.

“We’re just glad it gets to happen this year,” Bleemel said Monday. “But we’re still kind of holding our breath to see if we’ll have any restrictions by the weekend.”

Although the state is again recommending that people wear masks in crowded areas, this weekend’s fest did not have any definite restrictions as of Monday, Bleemel said. However, social distancing will be encouraged when possible, and anyone who wants to wear a mask is encouraged to do so, he said. Additionally, each booth will have hand sanitizer available and there will be extra hand washing stations throughout the downtown area.

The Strassenfest committee will follow whatever the Dubois County Health Department recommends, Bleemel said. The committee will know more about potential restrictions by Wednesday.

This year’s theme is “A Cultural Experience” to celebrate the opening of the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center and renovation of the Astra Theatre. The theme also is meant to celebrate those of all cultures, even though Strassenfest centers on German heritage.

“We want to promote the fact that, yes, it’s a German street festival, but we have other cultures that are participating in Strassenfest,” Bleemel said. “You don’t have to be German to come. We want everybody to come, and we want everybody to celebrate their heritage along with us.”

To go along with the theme, there will be several activities at the Cultural Center, such as movies and craft sessions. The kiddie pedal pull at 6:30 p.m. Friday will also take place in the Cultural Center’s back parking lot, and the nearby Alexander Schoolhouse will have a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The fest will otherwise have similar events and activities to previous years, Bleemel said. There is at least one new addition, and it’s a big one: a half-pot ticket fundraiser.

A booth at the fest will have tickets available for purchase, and one winner will be awarded with half the money raised. So far, the pot is at about $55,000. Bleemel hopes it will get up to $200,000 by the end of the fest before the final drawing Aug. 11.

A quarter of the proceeds will go to the Dubois County Scholastic Excellence Award Scholarship, which benefits Dubois County students attending Vincennes University Jasper. The rest will go back to the committee.

“This will help build a reserve fund to maybe take some of our entertainment to the next level or to just have an account in case something like Covid or some other catastrophic event shuts down Strassenfest in the future,” Bleemel said, “because so many of our local nonprofits depend on Strassenfest as their major fundraiser.”

Bleemel said he hopes everybody enjoys themselves but safety is the most important aspect. This includes a no-pet policy, excluding service animals.

“The reason we do that, especially on the dog side, is you don’t know how pets are going to react in a crowd,” Bleemel said.

Bleemel said he encourages anyone with suggestions for future Strassenfest celebrations to reach out to the committee. Contact information for the committee can be found at https://jasperstrassenfest.org/.


Strassenfest Schedule

Events are on or near the Courthouse Square in Jasper, unless otherwise noted.

Thursday

9 a.m. — Strassenfest Community Art Display at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center

9 a.m. — Stein display at the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Strassenfest exhibit at the Dubois County Museum

11:30 a.m. — Strassenfest: A Look Back at the Cultural Center

5:30 p.m. — Lions Club Box Parade at the Old National Bank 1 DCB Plaza (registration opens at 4:45 p.m.)

5 p.m. — Food, drinks and games booths open

5 p.m. — Carnival rides open

6 p.m. — Bier garten open

6 p.m. — Baby photo contest

6 p.m. — Opening ceremonies

6:30 p.m. — The Balloon Guys

6:30 p.m. — Caricature drawings

6:45 p.m. — Die Kulturelle Kinderauffuhrungen children’s cultural performances

7 p.m. — The Alphen Echos and Chardon Polka Band perform

7 p.m. — WITZ guitar pull

7:10 p.m. — Parade to the bier garten

7:10 p.m. — Learn to dance Schuhplattler and the chicken dance

7:35 p.m. — Dad’s Rootbeer mug holding contest

8 p.m. — Das Schokospiel: A Chocolate Game

8 p.m. — Stein holding contest

8:30 p.m. — Landler dance performance

8:40 p.m. — Schnitzelbank song sing-along

9 p.m. — Log sawing contest

9 p.m. — Free Fallin’: A Tribute to The Music of Tom Petty

10 p.m. — Polka contest

10 p.m. — Chicken dance contest

Friday

9 a.m. — VU Jasper Hot Shot basketball contest (registration begins at 8 a.m.) at Ruxer Student Center Gym

9 a.m. — Strassenfest community art display at the Cultural Center

9 a.m. — Stein display at the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Alexander Schoolhouse and Schaeffer Barn tour behind the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Strassenfest exhibit at the Dubois County Museum

10 a.m. — Dubois County Museum store open

11 a.m. — Food, drinks and games booths open

11:30 a.m. — Strassenfest: A Look Back at the Cultural Center

Noon — Strassenfest golf scramble at the Buffalo Trace Golf Course

5 p.m. — Food, drinks and games booths reopen

5 p.m. — Carnival rides open

5:30 p.m. — Steven Wagler performs

6 p.m. — Bier garten opens

6 p.m. — Laura Rose and the Briars perform

6 p.m. — Baby photo contest

6:30 p.m. — Jasper FFA kiddie pedal tractor pull behind the Cultural Center

6:30 p.m. — The Balloon Guys

6:30 p.m. — Caricature drawings

6:30 p.m. — The Alpen Echos and Chardon Polka Band perform

6:30 p.m. — Strassenfest hot air balloon launch at 788 West 12th Ave.

8 p.m. — Born in The USA: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen

8 p.m. — Stein holding contest

8:30 p.m. — Emisunshine performs

10 p.m. — Polka contest

10 p.m. — Chicken dance contest

Saturday

8 a.m. — Strassenfest bike ride at the Jasper Parklands (registration starts at 7 a.m.)

8 a.m. — Strassenfest golf scramble at Buffalo Trace

8 a.m. — Wettlauf 5K at Ninth and Main streets (registration starts at 6:30 a.m.)

8 a.m. — Fittogether’s Fitness at the Fest

9 a.m. — Antique Tractor Show at the field near the Schroeder Complex

9 a.m. — Dubois County Motorcycle Club: Jeep, Motorcycle and Car Show

9 a.m.— Jasper RC Flyers Strassenfest fly-in at 1103 South 350 West

9 a.m. — Stein display at the Cultural Center

9:15 a.m. — YMCA’s body flow

9:30 a.m. — Friends of The Arts sculpture dedication at the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Food, drinks and games booths open

10 a.m. — Alexander Schoolhouse ribbon cutting behind the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Alexander Schoolhouse and Schaeffer Barn tours behind the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Trike rennen

10 a.m. — German flag ribbon craft at the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Strassenfest community art display at the Cultural Center

10 a.m. — Strassenfest exhibit at the Dubois County Museum

10 a.m. — Dubois County Museum store open

10 a.m. — Wine garden open at Dave Buehler Plaza

10 a.m. — Arts and crafts fair at Dave Buehler Plaza

10 a.m. — Precious Blood quilt show

10:45 a.m.— Autolauf (check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.)

11 a.m. — Wings and Chili cook off at the Schroeder Complex (registration begins at 8 a.m.)

11 a.m. — Pet contest at Parker Park

11 a.m. — Dodgeball tournament at the Cabby O’Neill Gym

11 a.m. — Spirit of Jasper Train rides begin

11:30 a.m. — Das Kinderspiel (children’s games)

11:30 a.m. — Strassenfest: A Look Back at the Cultural Center

Noon — St. Joseph Church tour at 1029 Kundeck St.

Noon — Sheephead tournament

1 p.m. — Carnival rides open

1 p.m. — Bier garten open

1 p.m. — The Balloon Guys

1 p.m. — Caricature drawings

1 p.m. — Sparrow and Crandall perform

1 p.m. — Hodgini Gymnastics perform

2 p.m. — Strassenfest golf scramble at Buffalo Trace

2 p.m. — Full Out Tumble and Cheer perform

3 p.m. — Strings Inc. perform

3:45 p.m. — Dance Central Academy of Performing Arts perform

4 p.m. — Holy Family Polka Mass at 950 Church Ave.

5 p.m. — The Alpen Echos and Chardon Polka Band perform

6 p.m. — Baby photo contest

6 p.m. — Talentspiel

6:30 p.m. — Big Bad No Name performs

6:30 p.m.— The Balloon Guys

6:30 p.m. — Caricature drawings

8 p.m.— The Indigos perform

8 p.m. — Stein holding contest

8:30 p.m. — Respect: The Women of Rock ‘N’ Soul perform

10 p.m. — Polka contest

10 p.m. — Chicken dance contest

Sunday

8 a.m. Strassenfest golf scramble at Buffalo Trace

8 a.m. — Precious Blood Quilt Show at 1385 W. Sixth St.

9:30 a.m. — German Heritage Mass at 1029 Kundeck St.

10 a.m. — Dubois County Museum store open

10:30 a.m. — Precious Blood Polka Mass at 1385 W. Sixth St.

Noon — Strassenfest community art display at the Cultural Center

1 p.m. — Strassenfest exhibit at the Dubois County Museum open

1 p.m. — Strassenfest parade




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