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Der Adler Spring 2015 | Volume XI, Issue II
Colerain Township, Ohio, June 3, 2015 — In 1881, a German butcher named Johann Rossler first opened his “mechanical ox” which has since grown to occupy one of the largest tents on the Munich Theresienwiese, the site for the famous Munich Oktoberfest. The machine consisted of two main parts: a “locomobile” mounted on four iron wheels and a rotisserie with a revolving spit, an enclosure and a smokestack. Today the roasted ox is still a mouthwatering tradition for Germany’s Oktoberfest guests.
This year, the Donauschwaben Society in Colerain Township will bring this 134-year tradition to Cincinnati once again for their 5th Annual Schwabenfest on June 12 and June 13.
A CHALLENGING BEGINNING
The Donauschwaben is no stranger to hosting great outdoor festivals. The German society’s Oktoberfest, one of the city’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations, has brought in significant crowds for most of its 22-year history. So in late 2010, when the suggestion to host an outdoor spring festival in place of the annual Freundschaftabend was brought up, everyone was intrigued. After some discussions and debates, the festival known today as Schwabenfest was born.
Over the last four years, Schwabenfest has seen its fair share of success. But creating a brand new outdoor festival didn’t come without challenges. It took a lot of hard work and dedication from a lot of people to make it what it is today. When this two-day festival started in May 2011, it was first called the Spring Froth Fest. Months of preparation and planning went into the event the first year but even though the festival battled lackluster weather, stiff competition and lack of awareness, it still had plenty of potential. The festival returned a year later with slightly better results and attendance soared the third year when Paulaner hosted their traveling beer garden at the event.
But there was still something missing from the festival, according to Nick Krummen, Schwabenfest co-chair.
“Even though the festival has done well in the past, we felt like it needed its own identity,” Nick said. “We wanted to build on the successful formula of our Oktoberfest but still put on a festival that provided a unique experience for our guests.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
A UNIQUE FLAVOR
The idea for roasting an ox came from series of casual conversations at club events between Nick Krummen, Roric Schneider, Scott Lowry and Joe Abt while discussing the famous Oktoberfest ox roasting tradition in Germany.
Right away Scott expressed overwhelming enthusiasm for the idea.
“I honestly thought he was joking when he said he wanted to build an ox roaster for Schwabenfest,” recalled Roric Schneider, Schwabenfest co-chair. “But I was wrong. He was serious about it. He and Joe got it done!”
In late 2013/early 2014, Joe and Scott got to work. They spent many hours engineering their own version of Mr. Rössler’s ox rotisserie in Joe’s garage. After months of fine-tuning and testing, the machine was ready. And just like that the festival had a new, delicious identity.
When the time came to finally roast the ox in June 2014, they sold all 800 or so pounds of ox meat in one evening.
“We received a lot of positive feedback about the ox,” Nick said. “Guests really enjoyed watching the ox cook the night before and then eating it the next day. We look forward to this tradition for many years to come.”
“It wouldn’t have been possible without Scott’s vision and Joe’s hard work,” said Roric. “The two of them did a fantastic job making this idea come to life.”
THE RETURN OF THE OX
On Saturday, June 13, the ox roaster will return for an encore for The Cincinnati Donauschwaben’s 5th Annual Schwabenfest.
The festival, which promises an Oktoberfest-like atmosphere, will be a great way to relax and enjoy the Spring weather while eating homemade German sausage and drinking authentic German beer. It will include live entertainment by the Donauschwaben dancers, the return of the Donauschwaben stein holding contest, in addition to live music provided by local bands Saffire Express (Friday night), Squeeze Play (Saturday afternoon) and Alp’n Zaub’n (Saturday Evening).
Food items will include our delicious homemade sausage dinners, Oxen Roast on Saturday, pretzel sandwiches with ham or turkey, homemade apple and cherry strudel, Bavarian cream puffs, and more, along with Munich’s own Paulaner beer.
The 5th Annual Schwabenfest will take place on Friday, June 12 from 6:00 PM to Midnight and Saturday, June 13 from 1:00 PM to Midnight. For more information about Schwabenfest, visit our website at www.cincydonau.com, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.
About the Cincinnnati Donauschwaben Society
The Cincinnati Donauschwaben Society is a non-profit family-oriented society preserving and celebrating its German heritage since 1954. It is home to the only Oktoberfest celebration in Cincinnati held in October. They are located at 4290 Dry Ridge Road in Colerain Township (I-275 and Colerain Ave, behind the Lowe’s). For more information about the Schwaben lager and other Donauschwaben events, like the Official Cincinnati Donauschwaben page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter (@CincyDonau, #cincydonau), or visit their website at www.cincydonau.com.