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Apr 14, 2024

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Bockbierfest In Sacramento
Turn Verein April 4-5

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Martin Kramar leads crowd in novel dance

On the weekend of April 4th, the Turn Verein in Sacramento staged a beer fest replete with German music, schuhplattler, German choir, a rock ‘n roll band, dancing, and lots of beer and food.  The German club was founded in 1854 as a gymnastics club, which the name implies. In 1950-1960 I belonged to the San Francisco Deutsche Turn Verein and we had many gymnastic meets with the Sacramento club in their wonderful hall. But, alas, neither club does gymnastics any longer. The Sacramento club has morphed into a social organization where Germans and those with an interest in German culture can socialize, learn the language, celebrate, and carry on German customs. The club stages many fests, including the Bockbierfest and Oktoberfest.

The club has a large two-story building near downtown Sacramento with a parking lot which they converted into a biergarten for this event. In the main building there is the main hall which is as large as a basketball gymnasium where the Gruber Family Band performed, as did the schuhplattler group, and the German choir. There is a large dance area in this hall which was well occupied during both days. The fest is a favorite of the young folk in the area (Sacramento State University is nearby), families (lots of kids running about), and seasoned folk who simply enjoy the Gemütlichkeit. The chicken dance is the most popular tune of the fest and the band does a great job of mixing traditional German numbers with modern renditions of Barney tunes to satisfy the truly young folk. If you don’t know what Barney tunes are, ask a 5 year old. Upstairs on the second floor is a smaller hall (Festhall) which housed Akalive, a local rock ‘n roll band, who entertained the younger crowd and whipped them into a frenzy of fun.

What I like about this event is that it caters to the full spectrum of ages – from toddler to senior.

Note: The bockbierfest is not a polka event. It’s a festival with kids running around, music, food, beer – a typical German event. Lots and lots of young (20 somethings) who bounce about on the dance floor. So the serious dancers sit and enjoy the music and festivities.