History

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 Männerchor/Damenchor fortwaynemaennerchor.us

On October 4, 1869 the first German male chorus, established by German immigrants, was organized in Fort Wayne under the name of the Fort Wayne Sangerbund. Since its origin the chorus has been dedicated to the preservation and promotion of their German heritage as expressed in choral music.
Eventually, there were eight singing societies in the city: the Sangerbund, Eintracht, Concordia, Teutonia, Germania, Frohsinn, Lieder Tafel, and the Manner Gesangverein. In 1899 these eight choruses combined under the name of Concordia Gesangverein, which consolidated with the Saxonia Gesangverein in 1922. Four years later this consolidation became the Fort Wayne Männerchor. A Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized in 1938, but the ladies only began singing in 1974. In 1997 they became full members of the chorus and it became known as the Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor. The chorus joined the North American Sangerbund in 1871. On September 5, 1897 it became one of the founding members of the Indiana District. In November 1974, it joined the Southern Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana District, successor to the old Indiana District.

Originally rehearsals were held weekly at Strodel’s Saloon at Columbia and Barr Streets. Activities were held at various locations until 1922, when the chorus moved to a new location at 1804 1/2 West Main Street, where it remained for 79 years. On May 1, 2001 the Fort Wayne Mannerchor/Damenchor purchased a new home at 3355 Elmhurst Drive, known as “Park Edelweiss”. The building is used for rehearsals, concerts, meetings, picnics and other activities. Our facilities are also available for rent for any type of receptions, parties, and banquets.
Since 1936 the Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor has participated in district conferences involving approximately 350 singers which are held each year in April or May. Every three years they are involved in the National Sängerfest, which has had as many as 4,000 participants.
On the occasion of its 100th anniversary the chorus received the “Zelter Plakette”, an award named after Carl Friedrich Zelter, the father of choral music in Germany. It is awarded by the German government to choral groups all over the world on the occasion of the celebration of 100 years of continuous German choral singing.
Because of their enthusiasm for German culture, members of the Männerchor/ Damenchor sponsor a number of traditional German activities every year. In the early days they held monthly dances. Today, they continue their interest in the preservation of German heritage with a full schedule of annual activities.

Fort Wayne Sport Club
fortwaynesportclub.com

The Fort Wayne Sport Club is comprised of two separate but related entities. The Fort Wayne Sport Club consists of the main club (or Social Club), and Fort Wayne Sport Club Youth Soccer.
The Social Club is a membership driven club which puts on cultural heritage events throughout the City of Fort Wayne and at the Club itself. The Social Club is also the parent entity to Adult Soccer, at all levels and is also a 501(c)6 organization. Fort Wayne Sport Club Youth Soccer is a separate but related entity that governs all youth soccer activities at the Club including: Recreational Soccer, REC +, Travel Soccer, Player Development Academy and TOPSoccer. Youth Soccer is a 501(c)3 organization. The Fort Wayne Sport Club was founded by soccer players who had come to the city from Germany. These young men, who played for the local industrial teams of General Electric, the Pennsylvania Railroad and International Harvester, met on March 18, 1927, at the Männerchor (Men’s Choir) Hall on Main Street, and organized the Club for “the Promotion of Soccer Football and German culture.” For four years the Club had no home of its own. It joined the National Soccer League, and played its home games at International Harvester or on the General Electric field on Taylor Street at Brooklyn Avenue.

Games were usually played on Sunday afternoon, with a dinner and dance the evening before. Social activities were held at the Männerchor Hall, St. Peter’s Church Hall and the Kreis Stolzenau Hall. In 1931, the Sport Club purchased four and one-half acres of land on Ardmore Avenue (then Hayden Road) and this has been its home ever since. The first clubhouse was built in 1931, and the Ladies Auxiliary formed that same year. Home brew, home-made wine, dances and card games were features of early entertainment. A dance hall, kitchen, rest rooms and caretaker’s quarters were added and dedicated in 1934. In 1933 the Club made history in Fort Wayne by playing the first soccer game ever played at League Park, the home of many sporting events including Fort Wayne’s last two 12 major-league baseball games. League Park was located south of the St. Mary’s River between Calhoun Street on the west and Clinton Street on the east, and a mostly empty lot on the south. Several other games followed at the park, including a game against Notre Dame.

German Heritage Society
germanheritagesociety.com

Founded in 1986, German Heritage Society is the youngest of the Fort Wayne German clubs. While each of the other German clubs have a specific focus (e.g. music or sports), GHS is intended to be a place for anyone with ties to or curiosity about: German culture, their German heritage, or the effects our local German history has had on the Fort Wayne Area.
GHS may best be known for being one of the four clubs that come together to orchestrate the annual Fort Wayne Germanfest; but among members, friends, and local partners, we have a reputation as a friendly group looking to relax and enjoy ourselves. That could mean kicking back a drink over some good German food at one of our club events, discussing our shared interests and histories, learning to speak German or supporting our friends in the German community, either locally on in Gera, our German sister city.
We encourage everyone, German or not, to come out and join us for one of our monthly meetings or at one of our club events. Even though GHS doesn’t currently have a physical address, that doesn’t mean we are not active. Check our website or social media (@GHSFortWayne) for details about our upcoming events around town or browse our last few meeting minutes and see what is going on.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@germanheritagesociety.com.

Fort Wayne Turners
fortwayneturners.org

Fort Wayne Turners is a German Social and Sports Club located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Fort Wayne Turners has over 400 members strong and we are continually growing. We actively participate in many City Festivals including our Association with Fort Wayne Germanfest, held annually in Downtown Headwaters Park. Our Fundraisers are strong and our participation is growing rapidly.
With a Rich History behind The American Turnerbund, we have been part of an ever-growing society of Men and Women that have made great contributions to our City, State and Country.
The American Turners is a national organization founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848 by German immigrants.
Our motto is: “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body”, and thus explains the purpose of the American Turners.
Fort Wayne Turners is a family organization, encouraging people of all ages to be mentally and physically active.
American Turners has over 54 Societies, located in 13 districts throughout the United States, participating in athletic and cultural activities. Many have gymnasiums and teach gymnastics and other sports to people of all ages.
Turners hosts yearly, national competitions in gymnastics, golf, bowling, softball, volleyball, and cultural activities. In addition, there are regional events in other sports.

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