"A Celebration of Summer!"
July 14-18, 2015
2014 Schedule of Events
Come home to Alpenfest in Gaylord, home of the World's Largest Coffee Break and where our beautiful Alpine Village Main Street magically transforms into the Alpenstrasse. Artist's from all over the country display their crafts, and area vendors offer up tasty ethnic treats. The carnival lights up the night sky and fills the air with the sounds of laughter.
If you need a place to stay check out the variety of Gaylord Lodging opportunities!
Michigan Travel Show - Great Lakes Sport Publication.
Alpenfest entertainment for the entire family!
The Young Americans
The Young Americans make their annual visit to Gaylord at Noon on Wednesday of Alpenfest week.
Founded in 1962 - The Young Americans® were the first group to put choreography to choral singing, and with national television exposure in the 60s and 70s, gave birth to the entire 'show choir' movement.
Today, literally thousands of singing groups in major amusement parks, high schools and colleges across the nation can trace their roots to The Young Americans. Among its 3000+ alumni are professionals in motion pictures, television, radio, recording, and on Broadway.
Main Stage Concert information:
WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2015 - 8:00P.M. Mark Preston
THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015 - 8:00P.M. Chris Higbee
FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2015 - 8:00P.M. Bob Seger Tribute Band
SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2015 - 7:00P.M. The Elders
Carnival Ride Mega Pass
Skerbeck Carnival is selling the week-long MEGA pass again this year! Get unlimited rides for the entire week for one low price. Mega Passes are now available for $50. Price increases to $60 on July 1st, 2014.
Purchase your pass today and save!
Purchase 3 passes at full price and receive the 4th pass for half price! (Applies to same-day purchase only.)
The Mega Pass is a photo identification card issued by Skerbeck Bros. Carnival. In order to obtain a pass, the pass holder must be present at time of purchase. If you previously ordered a Mega Pass online, your pass can be obtained at the Skerbeck Bros. ticket booth. Proof of identification will be required.
Games & Contests
10:00 AM - Ladies Ankle Contest - On The Alpenstage
11:00 AM - Men's Knee Contest - On The Alpenstage
1:00 PM - Gold Fish Eating Contest - Under Pavilion On Court
2:00 PM - Bubble Gum Blowing Contest - Under Pavilion On Court
3:00 PM - Tricycle & Bicycle Parade - Starts at Pavilion On Court
4:00 PM - A variety of kids games and contest on the Courthouse Lawn
9:00 AM - Diaper Derby - Under Pavilion On Court
11:00 AM - Pizza Eating Contest - Under Pavilion On Court
12:00 PM - Stilt Walking Contest - Courthouse Lawn
1:00 PM - Jump Rope Contest - Pavilion Stage
2:00 PM - Hoola Hoop Contest - Pavilion Stage
3:00 PM - Alpine Bingo (Seniors Only) - Under Pavilion On Court
3:00 PM - La Promenade Des Biscuits (Cakewalk) - At the Alpenstage
4:00 PM - Alpenfest Stone Throw - First & Court
5:30 PM - Kazoo Competition - Courthouse Lawn
9:30 AM - Ugly Dog Contest (Cute ones also allowed) Courthouse Lawn
10:00 AM - Kinder Klassics (6 & Under) Courthouse Lawn Pavilion on Court Events:
1:00 PM - Franc Flipping
2:00 PM - Swiss Stone Spitting
3:00 PM - Pie Eating Contest
4:00 PM - Yodeling Contest
2014 Alpenfest Pin
Get your official Gaylord Alpenfest Pin to enjoy free entertainment, free food events along with kids games and contest; available at many local businesses and the Gaylord Alpenfest Gift Haus located at the center of the Alpenstrasse.
Be part of our traditions by helping to send Herr Gessler back to the hills with the traditional community singing of Edelweiss. Bring your flashlight to make a Lampion and be part of the magical parade leading to the Burning of the Boogg where your troubles will go up in smoke!
Many artists in and around the Gaylord area submit there designs in hopes that their theme inspired design will be chosen to represent the annual festival. By wearing your pin you not only show your support for the annual event; it is your passport to receive free or reduced costs at Alpenfest Food Events and all the Entertainment is FREE!
Alpenfest pins are $3.00 and are available at the Alpenfest Gift Haus or businesses throughout the area.
Burning of the Boogg
Put Your Trouble Slips In The Boogg
Boogg, a giant snowman of cotton wool, symbolizes winter to the Swiss, and they burn the statue yearly with colorful pageantry to celebrate the beginning of spring. In Gaylord, the Burning of the Boogg has taken on new meaning and added delight. Alpine Village residents and visitors jot down their troubles and problems on slips of paper and then place them inside the Boogg. The Boogg is then ignited, and everyone’s troubles go up in smoke! Now all can enjoy the fun and festivities of Alpenfest.
Legend of Herr Gessler
Herr Gessler Trying To Stop Alpenfest
According to legend, Gessler was an evil ruler in Switzerland and Austria in the 13th century. He forced everyone in the area to bow down to his hat as a symbol of authority. Gessler would leave his hat in the square and all those who passed it would be forced to bow. When William Tell, who had been hunting in the mountains with his son when Gessler came into power, came into the square he did not bow down to the feathered hat.
Herr Gessler became so enraged that he arrested Tell and his son. As a punishment, Tell had to shoot an apple off his son’s head. Tell succeeded and then turned his bow on Gessler. Tell was able to overthrow Gessler and become the new ruler.
Somehow Gessler was able to escape to Gaylord, Michigan a few hundred years later. He now tries to ruin Alpenfest for everyone by demanding quiet and that passerby’s bow down to his hat. However, Gaylord the Alpine Village wins over the evil tyrant with the sweet lyrics of Edelweiss.
Edelweiss: Traditional Flower
According to Alpine folklore, suitors proved their love by climbing high crags of the Alps in search of the flower. Tragically, many suitors fell to their death or died of exposure to the weather. The Edelweiss is still worn today and featured on German beer steins as a decorative symbol of love, bravery, strength, and dedication. Its popularity with the German and Austrian emperors earned the edelweiss the title, "Flower of Emperors and Kings."
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever
The Lampion parade originated in Switzerland where it also coincides with the burning of the Boogg during their Spring Celebration. Parsnips are hollowed out, and designs are cut into the sides. Next the lantern is then placed into a macramé basket, and a candle is placed inside. At Alpenfest, children and adults cut designs into the sides and top of a box. The designs are then covered with colored tissue paper or plastic wrap. A flashlight is inserted providing light as well as a handle to carry the lantern. Everyone carries their lampion in a procession that takes the Boogg to its burning site.
The annual Alpenfest Lampion making starts on Tuesday night at 7:30 PM on the Courthouse lawn. All those with Lampions lead the community to the Burning of the Boogg! An awesome site!
Join over 1000 friends and neighbors dressed in their traditional Alpenfest attire Lederhosen for the gentlemen and dirndls and blumencrantz’s for the ladies for the annual Walking Parade down Main Street. The parade originates at Family Fare parking lot and prizes are awarded for a variety of categories.
to view a YouTube video of the 2009 Walking Parade.
Gaylord Alpenfest History - Alpenfest Early Years on the Alpenstrasse
In the early 1960’s Gaylord, which is the county seat of Otsego County, was in the process of changing the town’s image to that of the Alpine look. This change was hastened by the decision of U.S. Plywood to build a particle board plant in Gaylord. The process used to manufacture particle board was developed and patented by a Swiss businessman, Fred Fahrni. The new plant meant employment for many in the area and also opened the door for a big market in the county for aspen and pine, from which the “Novaply” was processed. The plant was scheduled to open in 1965, and to help celebrate the opening, as well as show off the new look of Gaylord’s Main Street; a committee was formed in 1964 to plan a gala event. The committee was composed of General Chairman, Robert Fritz of Radio Station WATC; Finance Chairman, Harold Elgas, the President & CEO of Gaylord State Bank; Publicity Chairman, Robert Benidict, Publisher of the Herald Times; Nyman Tripp, the District Manager of General Telephone; Edward Calkins, Owner of Ken-Mar; Eileen Catt and Marie Sharp, Queens Committee; Nellie Schlang, costumes; Donald Smith, decorating; Gary Waldo, music; Bill Wishart, of Glen’s Market, in charge of concessions and Clark Bates, with the fire department, in charge of fireworks. The committee named the event THE ALPINE FESTIVAL, and it was later changed to the Alpenfest, as it is now known.
Submitted by Robert Fritz