‘Augustober Fest’ offers culture connection

Throughout the day, the toast “Ein Prosit der Gemutlichkeit” was heard, which is roughly translated as a toast to friendship.

Larry Coyne, a member of a traditional German dancing group, explained that the toast is one for Christmas spirit.

“It’s love for family, wanting to give; it’s the spirit of Christmas, but all year round,” said Coyne.

The Fritz Reuter Altenheim hosted its 134th Charitable Augustober Folk Festival this past weekend, Aug. 16 through 17, which showcased traditional German dancing, music, and beer.

The festival was presented by the Plattduetsche Volksfest-Vareen (PVV) of New York and New Jersey, which is a collection of large clubs that were instituted in 1974.

The Altenheim, located in North Bergen, is a home for the aging that was originally founded by PVV members in 1897. Each year the festival raises money for the Altenheim and other charities.

The d’Heimats Gruppe, or the group from the heart, appeared at the event. They are a dancing troupe from Long Island that appeared in the movie “Enchanted” and performed at many German-American festivals over the last 10 years.

Lenny Coyne, the president of the group, said that Disney was looking for a Bavarian dance group and that taking part in the movie was “phenomenal.”

The group has also performed in Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center and throughout the United States.

“We love the culture, and both he and I married German-American women,” said Lenny Coyne, who explained he and his brother Larry were of Irish decent.

‘I loved it’

Some residents from North Bergen and surrounding towns visited the Augustober Fest for the first time, while others were regulars.

Ridgefield Mayor George Fosdick, a longtime attendee, said he liked “the atmosphere and the food.”

Gail Warshaw enjoyed the traditional dancing at her first visit to the festival, but her friend Antse Hennings said that in Germany, the dancing speeds up as the dance continues.

“I loved it,” said Warshaw.

Chris Schroeder of Jersey City explained that her daughter was trying to get walking down pat, but still enjoyed the dancing.

“I think it’s wonderful that they’re keeping up the tradition,” said Schroeder. “It’s nice the way the community comes together.”

Music or beer

Karen Worles along with husband Johan Grobben, enjoyed the traditional music. They danced between short breaks for beer.

Grobben said they try to attend any German-American festival they can.

Worles especially wanted to hear the Stratton Mountain Boys, a German-American band from Vermont.

Vida Kucek, who is originally from Lithuania, said that she liked German music because it’s very similar to that of her country’s. She said it reminds her of home.

Comments on this story can be sent to TriciaT@hudsonreporter


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group