Schnitzels, spaetzle and song
German pavilion dishes up hearty experience
Folkorama brought four generations together under one roof during back-to-back sold-out shows at the German pavilion on Aug. 3.
Chantal Thibert, a 25-year-old pavilion co-ordinator was joined at Holy Cross Gym on Dubuc Street by her baby daughter — a new face among the buzzing crowd of teens, adults, and omas and opas.
“It’s so great to be able to bring my baby into this,” Thibert said, in an energized clip after her first performance of the night. “Being back, seeing your Foklorama family — we’ve missed each other. You can chat on the phone, but it’s not the same.”
Thibert has been on the Folklorama stage almost every year since she was born. First, as a singer, then a dancer. Thibert is a member of Ladyhosen, a dance group whose name is a play on the traditional German garment, lederhosen.
For Thibert, the German delicacies on the menu are familiar flavours.
“I make a lot of schnitzels myself at home, but it’s always nice when someone else does it, though,” Thibert said. “After having the baby, I’m still on a cake kick, so I’m really enjoying the tarts, the apple strudel.”
The German pavilion has a menu of foods rich enough to keep a person warm during a snowy Bavarian winter.
Main dishes included bratwurst on a bun or schnitzel, both with the options of jaeger sauce (mushroom gravy) or Balkan sauce (paprika and tomato). For sides, guests could choose from sauerkraut, red cabbage, mashed potatoes, or spaetzle — a German-style egg noodle.
Cassandra Kunzler, a 27-year-old pavilion ambassador, who picked up traditional dance in 2010, always makes a beeline for the pretzels. As sure as Kunzler is about her go-to German snack, she speaks more affectionately about performing the Oktoberfest classic, Fliegerlied, or So ein schöner Tag (Today is such a Beautiful Day). It’s a crowd favourite.
“It’s really nice to see everybody,” Kunzler said.
Laying down the soundtrack for the dancers was the German Society Brass Band. Before this year, the German pavilion happened at the German Society of Winnipeg’s North End hub. Neil Allison, who plays tuba in the band, was elated to perform in the new location.
Allison and his roughly 20-piece band brought to life polkas and waltzes.
“Very traditional,” Allison said, adding that the band features a couple of flugelhorns, a brass instrument with a darker tone than a trumpet or cornet. “If you go back 50, 60 years in Germany, this is what you would hear.”
Allison had an outfit to match the music. He wore a vintage 1950s lederhosen and a Tyrolean hat featuring pins he collected over the years.
Allison’s daughter plays in the band. He explained that the music and the festival tend to run down family lines, with younger generations celebrating the culture in the footsteps of their elders.
The German Society Brass Band’s set flanked an interactive yodel set by a longtime pavilion member, Theresia “Rezi” Dux.
Week 2 of Folkorama’s pavilions began Aug. 7 and continues until Sat., Aug. 13. For more information, visit www.folklorama.ca
Katlyn Streilein is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. She can be reached by phone at 204-697-7132 or by email at email@example.com