Gaylord Alpenfest
“A Celebration of Summer!”

July 11 -15, 2017

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!

Alpenfest® Queen’s Pageant Friday This Year!

Main Stage Concert information:

TUESDAY, July 11th, 2017 – 7:30 P.M.     Citizens Way

WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2017 – 8:00 P.M.  Endless Summer

THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2017 – 8:00 P.M.    Drew Hale

FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017 – 5:30 P.M.    Alpenfest® Queen’s Pageant      –    8:00 P.M.     Mega 80’s

SATURDAY, JULY 15, 2017 – 7:00  P.M.   Phase 5 Motown Review

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
4:00 PM – Alpenfest Stone Throw – First & Court

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
11:00 AM – Pet Parade
2:00 PM – Swiss Stone Spitting
3:00 PM – Pie Eating Contest
4:00 PM – La Promenade Des Biscuits (Cakewalk) – At the Alpenstage 

Alpenfest Traditions

2017 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!

Alpenfest Pin

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  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.” 

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
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
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

Lampion Parade

Making Lampions

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!

Walking Parade

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.
Click here to view a YouTube video of the 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

Photo Gallery

Alpenfest Festivities!

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