The 2014 Syracuse Germanfest kicked off with Abendessen on Thursday evening.  Richard and Brenda Steinhoff were crowned King and Queen.  Madeline Nannen won the Lil Miss Germanfest contest, and Steve Berner was the 2014 BurgerMeister.
Saturday was packed full of great activities.  
Glen Schweppe, creator of Hans, was the Germanfest Parade Grand Marshall.  
The float with past BurgerMeisters always seems to go through a few times, and this year was no different; they happily rode on through four times.
Many people enjoyed the free watermelon, pancake feed, crafts up and down Main Street, kid activities at the bank, wine tastings, music, and a variety of other great activities.
Cactus Hill took to the main stage at 9 p.m.  
The two-block beer garden was filled with people ready for an evening of great music.  By around 10:30 p.m., a downpour hit and forced the band off stage.  
Some people left, others packed into the bars, and many clustered under the various Main Street awnings.  There were even those who figured if they couldn’t have a street dance they might as well have a rain dance. So, they played in the puddles.
The rain didn’t last all night, and the band was back onstage by midnight for the final hour of their show.  The overall Germanfest turnout was good according to Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Gigstad.

Germanfest 5K
The annual Germanfest 5K drew 45 participants this year.  Jacob Meeske was the top male participant in the 5K.  The top female was Kristi Forch.  
After the completion of the 5K,  there was a fun mile walk/run around Williams Park with 12 participants.  Will Janssen was the unofficial winner.  All participants received a ribbon and a candy medal.
Proceeds from the event will be split between the Syracuse United Methodist Church and the Syracuse Fire Department.  
Organizer Carrie Simon said that she decided the night of the church fire in January that the proceeds of this event would go towards rebuilding the church.  In recognition of the firefighters’ outstanding efforts that evening, they are also receiving funds for the department.
This was the 8th annual Germanfest run.  Volunteers from the Syracuse Dance Team and others helped with the event.

​Germanfest Dancers
The Helmat Tanzer Dancers and Die Singenden Wanderer Singers from Omaha performed at the Green Room during Germanfest.  A full house enjoyed traditional German music and dancing.  It was sometimes interactive and always entertaining.
After their performance inside, they moved down to the main stage at 5th and Midland where they performed two special dances.  The first was Holzhacker, which is the lumberjack’s dance.  It became popular in Bavaria because of the big lumber industry there.  The dance used axes and a giant log.
The other outside dance was the Bergknappentanz, which is the coal miner’s dance.  They used several props throughout the dance.  The finale included a “boom box” - a piece of steel with charges to blast the coal.
They took frequent “breaks” where they stopped to drink from their steins during the dance.  After the show, they helped the past and present Burgemeisters tap the Festkeg.

Tractor Pull
The Little Tuggers Tractor Pull took place in the FirstBank drive-thru at Germanfest.  All the kids had a great time.  Everyone got a participation ribbon, and the winners of each age group received a medal.  Winners listed below:
4 year old: boy-Hudson Johns
5 year old: boy-Will Simon & girl-Aubrie Pollard
6 year old: boy-Addison Johns & girl-Addison Bates
7 year old: boy-Easton Stubbendick & girl-Ella Halvorsen
8 year old: boy-Jack Kreifels & girl-Gretchenn Barber
9 year old: boy-Jackson Nordhues & girl-Mayra Antunez
10 year old: boy-Trevor Hicks & girl-Madison Kreifels
11 year old: boy-Cooper Hicks & girl-Tori Kaylor
12 year old: girl-Natalie Thies

The wonderful smells of RibFest filled downtown Syracuse the whole day at Germanfest.  By dinner-time, everyone was ready to fill up on the delicious food.
There were 28 teams that gathered on Main Street to cook their meats.  They began arriving early in the morning and spent all day preparing it with their own special recipes.  Some had large smokers, some typical grill-size, and several even had homemade “trash can” smokers.
A panel of judges sampled the finished products and delivered the verdict.  The overall winner was Scott Hillman, and he also received BurgerMeister’s Choice.  Second place went to Blake Voorhees and Will Juilfs.   Andy Seelhoff and Travis Walters, 2013 winners, earned third place in the contest.
Viener Dog Races
The Annual Syracuse Viener Dog Races drew a crowd of well over three hundred people on Saturday at Germanfest.  Participants came from as far away as Iowa in order to join in the fun!
The Nebraska Dachshund Rescue out of Omaha was unable to attend this year as they were out on a rescue that day.  Normally, they enter some dogs in the races.  Nonetheless, this year had 24 entries.
The dogs competed in several different heats and then a championship.  The “Brat” (12 lbs and over) division was won by Kooper, owned by Laura Thaiken of Ceresco.  The “Little Smokies” (under 12 lbs) division winner was Copper, owned by Taylor Gollin of Lincoln.  He also won the Grand Champion when he competed against Kooper in the final race.  It was VERY close!
Following the races, the Germanfest Committee held a brief game of balancing dice with spectators.  This gave the dogs a chance to cool off and finish wardrobe changes for the fashion show.
The Viener Vogue Fashion Show was won by first time entrant Ziggy from Bennington.   It was Ziggy’s first time participating in the event, and he had a lot of excited supporters.  Second place went to Phoebe of Omaha in a wedding dress.  Third place winner was MacyRue of Omaha dressed as Superman.
Organizer Jan Moore was pleased with the event.  It was a really good turnout, and everyone had a great time.