Gaylord Alpenfest Traditions
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
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.
Video Burning of the Boogg
Michigan Travel TV - Great Lakes Sports Publication
Legend of Herr Gessler
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.
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
Listen to the Music - Written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the Sound of Music.
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!