Germanfest salutes tradition: Prost!

Missoula celebration offers beer, brats, pretzels and polkas Sept. 1

New & Notable

Germanfest, the annual celebration of Missoula’s sister-city partnership with Neckargemünd, Germany, brings beer, bratwurst, pretzels and polkas to Caras Park from 2-6 p.m. Sept. 1. Admission as always is free!

Once again, the Vancouver, BC-based German band S-Bahn ( returns to the festival with their high-energy performance. Why the name? “S-Bahn is the commuter train that connects cities in Germany with their suburbs,” says the group’s founder, singer and accordionist Richard Tryce. “S-Bahn connects people – brings them together.”

Polkas, waltzes, rock ’n roll classics and originals are all part of the quartet’s eclectic repertoire, performed on an array of guitars, alphorn, trombone, tuba and accordion.

For the hungry and thirsty, the festival offers plenty of bratwurst and sauerkraut by Covered Wagon Hot Dogs, and German-baked goods by Alpenstüble of Stevensville. As usual, Bayern Brewing supplies German beer and pretzels, with Bayern’s German-born Brewmeister, Jürgen Knoeller, on hand to tap the Oktoberfest wooden keg.

The festival also offers commemorative beer steins (get one free beer with each stein purchased), children’s activities, and information about Missoula’s sister-city of Neckargemünd, a picaresque town near Heidelberg that’s also at the confluence of rivers. Like Missoula, it’s surrounded by hills and verdant forests and boasts a vibrant cultural life. The town, however, is nearly 1,000 years older than its sister-city, having first been mentioned in an official document in 988 A.D.

Since the sister-city relationship was launched in 1992, students and faculty members from Neckargemünd and the nearby University of Heidelberg have visited the University of Montana on a regular basis. This year, exchange students from Neckargemünd who are attending Hellgate High School plan to attend the festivities at Caras Park.

Germanfest is produced by Global and Cultural Affairs at Arts Missoula with the help of the University of Montana German Department and many dedicated volunteers. For more information, call 406-541-0860 or visit www.artsmissoula.