Schmeckfest: It’s all about German Heritage

    Schmeckfest has become an annual tradition for our family. There is so much to see - and taste. The whole festival revolves around an authentic German meal that is served family style at table after table covered in red-checked tablecloths. The menu includes two soups, stewed beef and pork sausage, fried potatoes, cheese buttons, sauerkraut, poppyseed rolls, kuchen and more. This is the 57th year of the celebration which serves 1000 meals per night over two weekends.
    Over the years many things have been added to the festival, including ethnic handicrafts and culinary arts demonstrations. You can watch artisans at work crafting willow baskets, caning chair seats, spinning yarn and more. Children enjoy old fashioned rope making where they can assist in making a jump rope to take home. These demos take place in the Heritage hall Museum, where you can also see all the collections of antique household items, tools, machinery, autos and more.
    In the culinary areas you can watch as other German delicacies are made, including peppernuts (Warning - they have anise flavoring in them. It’s probably the only item they sell that I don’t like. But I always buy some for my mother-in-law who loves them.), cheese pockets, fruit pockets, and New Year’s cookies. Note to anyone not familiar with New Year’s cookies, they are actually a fried drop donut. Children can get some hands on experience cranking dough through the noodle maker. Another favorite is the handmade sausage which also is smoked. You can sample many of the items and they are available to purchase so you can continue the experience after you go home. The Country Kitchen also sells additional breads, kuchen, jams and more.
    If that wasn’t enough, there is also a concert by Freeman Academy choirs each afternoon in the historic Bethel Church building located on the grounds as well as historical presentations throughout the day. A big community musical production is staged nightly at 8pm. This year’s production is “Big River”. Freeman is a community full of musical and theatrical talent, so you won’t be disappointed. The seats sell out, so you’ll want to get your tickets early.
    If you’ve never been to Schmeckfest, it is a must do. Once you’ve been there once, you’ll probably want to go every year. This year’s festival is March 20-21 and 27-28. For more info on how to order the German Meal and “Big River” tickets, go to www.schmeckfest.com.