JASPER, Ind. (WEHT) – Officials in Dubois County say they plan on moving forward with Jasper’s 2021 Strassenfest. The 2021 Strassenfest committee continues to meet every month, moving forward with planning for the event to be held August 5 through August 8, in and around downtown Jasper.
“The decision to cancel the 2020 Jasper Strassenfest was no doubt the toughest decision the Strassenfest Committee has ever had to make in the 16 years I’ve been on the committee,” said 2021 festival chairman, Bob Bleemel. “As of now we are moving forward with plans to have the 2021 Strassenfest.”
It’s been a staple of German pride in Jasper for over four decades and now this year’s festival could be steps closer to being a reality.
“It’s tough to do a street festival where you have to keep everybody six feet apart, and that was one of the primary decisions last year, why we had to pull the plug because it was impossible to keep people that far apart,” Bleemel said. “So we are hoping a lot of those restrictions are behind us when we get to mid-July”
Officials say this would technically be the 43rd year for the Strassenfest – but due to last year’s cancellation, this year would mark the 42nd year of an actual festival taking place.
Strassenfest officials say they are hopeful this year’s festival will go on as planned.
“At this point all we can do is plan to have it,” Bleemel said. “But things may change, we may have to cancel it again but we are hoping not.”
Economic leaders in Jasper say certain sectors of the city’s economy took a hit with the cancellation of the festival in 2020.
“Lodging and restaurants probably got hit the worst,” explained Jasper Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Eckerle. “On the other hand, because people had some little gatherings at their homes, the grocery stores and things like that probably did a little bit better than they normally do during a weekend like that. But, what truly got hit the most was our local nonprofit organizations.”
Eckerle said the hit to Jasper’s economy could be felt well beyond 2021.
“Well this is still January and August is a long way off,” Eckerle said. “In all reality, August comes around very quickly so as far as planning for the Strassenfest, we are planning full steam ahead.”
Jasper is now hoping to return to some sense of normalcy this year with the Strassenfest on the line and an economy hoping to bounce back.
Recent committee decisions include the selection of a festival theme; selection of the festival Hofmarschall or Grand Marshall; and the final design of the official festival button.
The committee is also moving forward with a half-pot ticket fundraiser for this year’s Strassenfest, with ticket sales beginning in late June or early July, with the final drawing to be held on August 11.
A percentage of the net proceeds from the half-pot will go towards the Dubois County Scholastic Excellence Award Scholarship fund to benefit Dubois County students attending VU Jasper, as well as future improvements to the Jasper Strassenfest.
(This story was originally published on January 25, 2021)