Jasper, Ind. (WEHT) — As the Jasper Strassenfest wines down, one gentleman is walking down memory lane and reflecting on the very first Strassenfest and parade.
Gary Elger and his late wife were among 16 couples who met at a local bar over 40 years ago, founded the Jasper German Club and created the Strassenfest.
“We came up with 10 to 12 things we wanted to do, get a sister city exchange program for our kids and us, and of course a festival,” he said.
One of those things was creating an opening ceremony, including the carrying of a large keg.
“One of the guys was a carpenter and he created the rack we carried with the barrel. Now, the first keg we carried down, you could tell that it wasn’t beer. It was a wine barrel that would fit in there,” he said.
There have been a lot of changes through the years, from growing the Bier Garden to the parade. More local businesses take part and build a float, including Dubois County 4-H who is back this year after a brief break.
“It’s always fun to see everybody in the parade route and see the kids that walk with us and have fun. You know, everybody wants to be in the parade, so the kids have fun with that,” said Lisa Wilson, Purdue Extension Educator.
Spectators, like Dan Johnson, came out hours before the parade started, setting up their tents and roping off their seats.
“We have a gathering that you know, comes every year. We have food and all that and sit and enjoy the parade, and we won’t even have to leave our yard, it just comes right by us,” he said.
First responders kicked off the parade, followed by an appearance by Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. Children caught candy thrown from floats. Although a summer thunderstorm moved in as the parade started, that did not stop the German Spirit. Now, the planning begins for next year.