History of the Fort Wayne Germanfest!
Germanfest began in 1981 as a project to bring a German folk festival to Fort Wayne. Since then, Germanfest has continued to grow, and has now become a highlight of the summer festivals in Fort Wayne. Most people have been to Germanfest and sampled the Essen, Trinken und Gemütlichkeit (Eating, Drinking, and a warm, wonderful time). The Germanfest Committee of Fort Wayne is formed from the four German organizations that exist in Fort Wayne: the Fort Wayne Turners, the Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor, the Fort Wayne Sport Club, and the German Heritage Society. Each of these organizations has a rich tradition in Fort Wayne.
The Fort Wayne Turners were organized in 1865 as the Turnverein, with a focus on gymnastics. Today the Turners have many physical education and civic programs, as well as many social events.
The Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor is the second-oldest singing society in Indiana. It was founded in 1869 by immigrants who wanted to preserve and foster the tradition of German choral music. The members still continue this tradition. They perform at a wide variety of events, and participate in regional and national festivals as members of the North American Singers Society. They have also traveled to Germany on concert tours in 1995 and 1999.
The Fort Wayne Sport Club grew out of the German’s love of soccer. The club was started by the many soccer players who came to this area from Germany after WWI. In the beginning the soccer teams were supported by local corporations. The soccer players wanted their own program, so they formed the Fort Wayne Sport Club in 1927. The Sport Club continues to sponsor soccer events, including recreational, and competitive soccer, for ages four to thirty- plus, as well as many social events.
The German Heritage Society is the most recent addition to the roster German clubs, formed in 1986 to promote German heritage and culture in Fort Wayne. The German Heritage Society sponsors many cultural events, provides scholarships to study German, and promotes travel to Germany. The German Heritage Society was also instrumental in establishing our Sister City relationship with Gera, Germany. The GHS goal is to keep German traditions alive in “this most German city”.