NEW YORK – German immigrants have a long and proud history in the United States, and will celebrate this weekend with one of the most exciting and colorful events in New York: the 53rd annual German-American Steuben Parade.
This year’s Parade will be led by the legendary sex therapist “Dr. Ruth” Westheimer, born in Frankfurt, Germany; and by Dr. Michael Moller, CEO of Staatliches Hofbrauhaus in Munich, the company behind the world famous beer hall, and the fastest growing German beer in the U.S. market.
The Parade includes 15 visiting music and dance groups from Germany. Some will be wearing masks, and others will be wearing Tracht – traditional attire worn in many German regions. These groups will showcase of German heritage, while colorful floats celebrate German-American history by paying tribute to outstanding people. Among the themes in this and previous parades are floats honoring Brooklyn Bridge builder John Roebling, Yankee legend Lou Gehrig, Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and many others whose German heritage is sometimes not widely known.
“We are proud to celebrate German-American history, and present a look at German-American friendship today,” said Parade Chairman Lars Halter, pointing to floats celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the German reunification, a historic feat that was unthinkable without the help of the United States. Germans are our largest ethnic group, with as many as 70 million Americans claiming German ancestry.
The Steuben Parade is preceded by a Gala Banquet on Friday, September 24, at the New York Hilton, where the Grand Marshals will be presented and a special exhibition by famous German porcelain manufacturer Meissen will be a highlight.
The Parade ends with an Oktoberfest in Central Park, where German beer and food create an authentic atmosphere. On the program: The finals of the 2nd National U.S. Championship in Masskrugstemmen, a Bavarian strong-man contest that features competitors holding a full one liter stein of Hofbrau beer on their outstretched arm. The winner flies to Munich to visit the legendary Hofbrauhaus.
The Steuben Parade will be held on Saturday, September 25, at 12 Noon on Fifth Avenue from 67th to 86th Street. www.GermanParadeNYC.org .