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The speaker is a 59-year-old White woman with a high school education from Hermann, Missouri; she was recorded in 1967.


County: Gasconade
State: MO

Hermann, in east-central Missouri, was founded by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia in 1837 as a community where their German cultural life and traditions could flourish. Vineyards were soon established, and their wine became known after receiving an award at the New York State Fair in 1853. Maifest is one of the German holidays celebrated at the end of the school year, on a Sunday in late May, with parades and picnics. Showboats often came to Hermann, located on the Missouri River, and were popular diversions for adults and children. In this segment the speaker details her memories of both riverboats and Maifest.
Inf: Oh, and then another nice thing was when, I remember when the uh, showboats came to town. Um, all the kids, the calliope, they, they dock down here at Wharf Street and the calliope would play and all the kids just ran down to the river, and we listened to the music at the showboat and then [FW: Uh] that evening our parents took us to the show on the boat [FW: Uh-huh]. And um, they were, there were little prize, little popcorn, boxes of popcorn with a prize in that was just wonderful. And another nice thing was uh, uh, at the end of school uh, we always had what we called our Maifest. That was our [FW: Uh-huh] May picnic, this our big Maifest finally???

FW: When did it start, incidentally?

Inf: Uh, our Maifest?

[FW: Yeah]

It, we've been having it, I think uh, fifteen years, sixteen

[FW: Oh].

Uh, but this was our, our annual school picnic. And???

FW: Oh, that would be the original went back as [Inf: That was the original Maifest] long as the school.

Inf: Yes. Mm-hmm. And we all, this is our school here and um, uh on, on Sunday afternoon about one o'clock, the last of May, at the end of school, why we all congregated over there at school, high school and grade school kids. And each one of us was giving al-, given a little American flag and some tickets for lunch when we got to the park. Well each grade lined up: first grade, second and high school and so on. And then this Hermann military band that they had, we all marched out to the park which was about, at least ten blocks. But we all marched in our Sunday best and when we got out to the park, why the school board uh, had um, refreshments for us. We had the tickets for an orange and we had the ticket for a knackwurst sandwich. We had tickets for pink lemonade. We have a bugle call, and each bugle call would be for either one of these three things. And the knackwurst on a bun, of course that was just great and uh, the pink lemonade was um, served in these glasses with a handle and it was uh, the pink in the lemonade was a little wine. They always spiked it with a little wine [FW: Oh, oh]. And uh, that was, that was our May, Maifest. And I remember playing beanbag. There was a house with a peaked roof, and we threw the beanbag over that and we played ring-around-the-rosy and drop the handkerchief. It was very exciting.

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