HISTORY OF THE GEMUETLICHEN ENZIANER
In Herbergslokal Segmiller, 355 East 88th Street, New York City, at nine p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 1931, the "Original G. T. Schuhplattler Verein Do g'mütlichen Enzianer" was born. The actual purpose of the "Gemuetlichen Enzianer" was to uphold and preserve Bavarian traditions, customs and Tracht; but as the name suggests, Gemuetlichkeit was indeed a part of the early club life. By the end of 1931, as members of the newly-formed club and their families celebrated their first Christmas Party together, it was evident that the corner-stone and foundation had been laid and were indeed strong enough to build upon.
The first Vorstandschaft of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer included - President: Hans Kiendl, Vice President and Secretary: Heiny Strecker, Treasurer: Paul Atzenbeck, Trustees: Charles Handler and Jackl Segmiller, Custodian: Alex Atzenbeck, and Vorplattlers: Charles Handler and Hans Kiendl.
In February 1932 the first Bauernball was held and on October 19, 1932, we celebrated our first Stiftungsfest, at which time Hans Kiendl was made Ehren Vorplattler. Membership now numbered over fifty. The second Bauernball was held on February 25, 1933, in the Labor Lyceum, at which time Hans Kiendl was made Ehren President. In that same year the Gemuetlichen Enzianer purchased two lots in the community called Lake Secor in Putnum County, with the intentions of building an Almhaus. Work began immediately - not only the backbreaking digging and building, but also raising the money to pay for all the necessary materials. On September 1 and 2, 1935, the dream of the membership was realized with the "Einweihung" of the Almhaus. In addition to the members of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer, also present were Club Bavaria Bronx, V. V. Enzian and Zither Club Edelweiss. After President Hans Kiendl welcomed members and guests, "Tauf-Mutter" Resl Scherbl broke a bottle of champagne against the side of the house with the words: "Ich taufe dich zu dem Namen 'Enzianers Rest.'"
In 1936 Alex Atzenbeck became President and Kurt Mietzner Vorplattler. Membership was closed to Plattlers, unless they brought a "Dirndl" with them. The Almhaus in Lake Secor was an important part of club life, with mandatory four-hour work periods each Sunday. Women who wished to help with the housecleaning were to receive payment of $0.35 per hour, which could be applied to their dues. On Labor Day weekend all members came to the Almhaus in Tracht and participated in various tournaments. Gathering on Labor Day weekend has always been a part of Gemuetlichen Enzianer tradition.
In 1937, the site of the Bauernball was moved to Yorkville Casino. During the following years World War II overshadowed much of the activities of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer, although Plattlerprobes still kept the membership together. In 1940 George Lerchenmuller became President, and the Bauernball was combined with the Stiftungsfest and held in the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum. From 1941 to 1944 the Gemuetlichen Enzianer ceased being an active force for obvious reasons. However, club members had become close friends, and these friendships and the Almhaus kept the Gemuetlichen Enzianer united during the war years.
In 1949, still under the leadership of Alex Atzenbeck, meetings were again scheduled for once a month and held in the members' homes; and the Gemuetlichen Enzianer began to attend Bauernballs in the New York City area. Although our own Bauernball was no longer held, the Christmas Party was held each year and became the major financial undertaking of the newly reborn club. In 1950 Alex Atzenbeck became Ehren President and Hans Kiendl was re-elected President. Labor Day marked the 15th Anniversary of the Almhaus Einweihung and the customary celebration was held for the first time in many years.
By 1953, the children of the founding members were beginning to take their places in the ranks of the membership. Plattlerprobes were begun again, for the first time in over a decade, in Hans Kiendl's basement. Hans gladly gave his time to teach the new "Buam" how to Plattl, and Erich Bayer was appointed Vorplattler. By 1954 Justice Tavern in Elmhurst had become the new Vereinslokal and formal Plattlerprobes began on Friday evenings. At the Edelweiss White Plains (Westchester) Bauernball we danced the Steirer Figurentanz with twelve couples - from both generations.
In 1955 the second generation of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer brought many of their friends, especially from Sport Club Eintracht, into active participation. Membership was no longer limited to Bavarians and Austrians, but meetings were held in German and an interpreter was chosen to translate for the new non-German-speaking members. In September Hans Kiendl retired as President, to be succeeded by Jack Bayer, Sr. Vorplattlers were once again formally elected, and as Erich Bayer was called into the Army, Martin Hubner succeeded him. Our founding members were again able to pass their traditions and customs on to listening ears. New members were taught not only Plattl'n and Dreh'n, but also respect for the Tracht and for other members, and above all, pride in the Gemuetlichen Enzianer.
In 1956 we became members of the Vereinigten Bayern von Gross New York and for the first time in very many years held a public dance - a Fruhlingsfest. We participated in the Fahnenweihe of Edelweiss White Plains, and decided that the time was right to reinstitute the annual Bauernball. On March 23, 1957, in the Long Island City Turn Hall, under the leadership of President Jack Bayer, Sr., with Edmund Killian as Vice President and Festleiter, the Gemuetlichen Enzianer held their first Bauernball since the end of World War II.
In January 1958 the Gemuetlichen Enzianer made their television debut, one of many ethnic groups appearing at Mike Todd's party in Madison Square Garden marking the first anniversary of the film, "Around the World in 80 Days." Throughout that winter, the members were actively preparing for the Fahnenweihe to be held on March 29, 1958, in both halls of the Long Island City Turn Hall. The Karl Weiss Kappelle and the Knickerbockers were engaged to play, and Vorplattlers Martin Hubner and Erich Bayer were busily teaching the Buam and Dirndln the Bankltanz. The long-awaited date finally arrived, and the membership - proudly dressed in their first Festtracht - presented their brand new flag to Fr. Otto DeChoibert to be blessed. Edelweiss White Plains honored us by becoming our Patenverein. Tillie Mietzner was Fahnenmutter, Marianne Hauck (Bayer) Fahnenjungfrau, and Jack Bayer, Jr., and Tony Graf Fahnentraegers. The Bankltanz was a resounding success; and when the Festtanz was over, the Bankls were used to seat some of the overflow crowd.
In May 1958 we attended the Fahnenweihe of Original Enzian, and also began many years of dancing at Sunrise Bavarian Village on Long Island. During the summer a large group of members visited our Stammverein Almrausch Regensburg. Hans Kiendl had been a long-standing member of Almrausch and ties were once again strengthened, old friendships renewed and new friends made. In November of that same year, the leadership of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer was trustingly passed on to the second generation, as Edmund Killian became President. Santa Claus was very generous to the Gemuetlichen Enzianer at the Christmas Party that year - in the persons of Hans and Maya Kiendl - who presented the club with a Tischstandarten - a miniature of our club flag.
In September 1959, we proudly marched in the first Steuben Parade up Fifth Avenue, and this pride in being German-Americans has made us march in every Steuben Parade since then. During these years, a very special relationship developed between the Gemuetlichen Enzianer and Mission Relief, an affiliate of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Each year we danced at their Bavarian Night to help raise money for the missions. This job was not without its rewards however, for it fostered our friendship with Msgr. James W. Asip, at that time Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, who celebrated our 1981 Gaufest Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
At the annual meeting in November 1960, Erich Bayer became Vorplattler, and in March 1962 the site of the Bauernball was moved to the Sunnyside Gardens, as we had outgrown the Turnhall. In July, the Vereinigten Bayern, at their annual Bayerntag Picnic, held their first Preisplattler competition of the New York area clubs, and the Gemuetlichen Enzianer brought home first prize.
In June 1963 we attended the Trachtenfest of Edelweiss Buffalo and in July again placed first in the Vereinigten Bayern Preisplattler. In October our Grundungs-, Senior- and Ehrenmitglieder were honored at a dinner in our new Vereinslokal, Plaza Inn. The Gemuetlichen Enzianer closed the year 1963 in fine form by holding a gala New Years Eve dance together with the Bavarian Sport Club.
How conscientiously we performed our Festtanz at the 1964 Bauernball – as it was to be included in the film, "There's Only One New York," released in August of that year. At the Annual Meeting in May, George Lindner became President. In August we danced as part of the Vereinigten Bayern Schuhplattlers at the New York Worlds Fair, and in October participated in the Fahnenweihe of Edelweiss Passaic.
At the Annual Meeting in May 1965, Edmund Killian was made Ehren President and Martin Hubner became Vorplattler and during that year we began dancing at the many Veterans Administration Hospitals in the New York area, a small token of our appreciation to those who had given so much for their country.
In January 1966 Gemuetlichen Enzianer participated in the meeting held in Milwaukee to form the Gauverband Nordamerika. We became charter members and the Vereinigten Bayern would host the first Gaufest here in New York in 1967. During the year we took part in the Fahnenweihe of Alpenland Montreal (taking 5th place in the Trachtenschau) and held an Octoberfest after the Steuben Parade in our Vereinslokal, Flessels Restaurant and Park. In addition to dancing that year, the membership undertook complete renovation of our Clubhouse in Lake Secor; walls were ripped out, floors were torn up, and the house was actually rebuilt from inside out. Labor Day weekend this year was not only the traditional celebration, but a work weekend as well.
On Saturday, May 27, 1967, the Gemuetlichen Enzianer went to the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark to attend the 1. Gaufest. Sixteen of our members were active in the various committees and our Preisplattler team placed 13th in the competition. On July 14 our Kindergruppe was born - the third generation of active Gemuetlichen Enzianer had come into being. Clubhouse renovations had progressed to the point where we could again hold a Labor Day "party." The year ended with a club dinner to thank all the members who had worked so diligently throughout the year.
The 1968 Bauernball was held in the Crystal Ballroom in Astoria and marked the debut of our Kindergruppe - both Zwerglein and Jugendgruppe. We danced the Peitchentanz, and for the first time heard our Gemuetlichen Enzianer song, with the words written by Erich Bayer, played as we marched off the floor. In July we attended the Fahnenweihe of Edelweiss Buffalo. By Labor Day weekend, the Clubhouse was ready for the Grand Re-opening. The weekend began with a Cocktail Party on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning the traditional Horseshoe Tournament was held, and in the afternoon the Clubhouse was officially re-opened/re-christened with President George Lindner breaking a bottle of champagne against the side of the house.
On Christmas Eve, our Kindergruppe made their debut on nation-wide television and were the featured performers, on the Bell Telephone Christmas Show with Victor Borge. The year closed with a club New Years Eve party held in our newly-finished clubhouse.
In July of 1969 we attended the 2. Gaufest in Denver, Colorado, and placed 11th in the Preisplattler competition. In 1970 the Bauernball was moved to the Educational and Cultural Center of the Electrical Industry. In June, three couples danced on the Joe Franklin Show on WOR-TV Channel 9, and on 4th of July weekend, we attended the Fahnenweihe of the Oberlander Milwaukee.
At our club meeting on February 19, 1971, under Wohl und Bestern, the membership was asked to think about hosting the 1981 Gaufest here in New York City to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. At the annual meeting held in May, Martin Hubner became President and Kurt Mietzner, Jr., Vorplattler. In July we attended the 3. Gaufest in Detroit, and placed 8th in the Preisplattler competition. We also danced at the first German Night held in Eisenhower Park.
At the Bauernball in March 1972, George Lindner was made Ehren President, Erich Bayer and Martin Hubner Ehren Vorplattlers, and Karl Reitmaier received a special plaque to commemorate his many years as Treasurer. We danced the Pinzgauer and the Jugendgruppe, the Laubentanz. On March 30, Erich Bayer, Martin Hubner, William Hubner, Kurt Mietzner, Jr., George Lindner and Richard Killian were seen all over the United States trying to teach Johnny Carson to Schuhplattl on the Tonight Show.
1973 began with "Fasching mit die zwei Enzian," Original Enzian and Gemuetlichen Enzianer. At the Annual Meeting Erich Bayer was elected Vorplattler; and his work with the Preisplattler team brought us into the winners' circle for the first time with a third place finish at the 4. Gaufest in Washington, DC.
May 23, 1975 was a sad day for every Gemuetlichen Enzianer - our beloved founder, Ehren President, Ehren Vorplattler, teacher and spirit of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer, Hans Kiendl, died. We will always honor his memory. On July 4th weekend, we went to Montreal for the 5. Gaufest. Our Preisplattler team placed 5th - but our members came in first - and brought home the Meistpreis. On the July 4, 1976, we celebrated the Nation's Bicentennial in the city of its birth, Philadelphia, and attended the Fahnenweihe of GTV Almrausch.
In January 1977 we hosted the first Heimatabend of Schuhplattler Vereins in our area, and on July 4th weekend we attended the 6. Gaufest in Milwaukee. Our Preisplattler team came in 6th - and we had a wonderful time in our Big Apple Hospitality Suite, where visitors were encouraged to look favorably on our bid for the 1981 Gaufest.
At the Gau Delegates Meeting in January 1978, Erich Bayer was elected Gau Vorplattler, and the Big Apple and the Gemuetlichen Enzianer were given the go-ahead to host the 8. Gaufest. In May we participated in the Fahnenweihe of Schlierachtaler Stamm here in New York City and in September held a Heimatabend to welcome guests from the Inntaler/Simbach, Sunnastoana/Uffing, the Lindenthaler and the Loisachtaler.
At our Bauernball in 1979 we danced the Chiemgauer, with the Kinder and Jugendgruppe doing the Amboss Tanz and the Gamsprung, and Richard Killian was made Ehren Vice President. In June, in conjunction with the New Hackensack Fire Department, we held the first of our Bierfests in Wappingers Falls, which was to become an annual event for the next eighteen years. One of the highlights of 1979 was our trip to California for the 7. Gaufest held in Los Angeles, where our Preisplattler team placed 6th.
Our calendar for 1980, aside from the many meetings and hours spent planning for out upcoming Gaufest, included the 50th Anniversary of Bayern Verein Newark, the Fahnenweihe of Almenrausch Syracuse and dancing at Luchows - one of the most famous restaurants in New York City.
1981 – our 50th Anniversary year – was highlighted by our hosting the 8. Gaufest in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The Gaufest began with a Welcome Dance on Friday evening, Preisplattling was held on Saturday morning, followed by the Gaufest Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Evening festivities began with a Cocktail Reception and then moved to the Grand Ballroom, where 1454 guests joined us for the Banquet. Sunday's picnic was held at Plattdeutsche Park on Long Island and our Preisplattler team placed fourth.
At the Annual Meeting William Hubner was elected President, and in August 1 and 2, a Gaufest Blow-out party was held in the Clubhouse. On October 18, 1981, we officially celebrated our 50th Anniversary with a Dinner and Cocktail Hour in the Polish Hall. Martin Hubner was made Ehren President at the dinner. Once again we ended the year with a New Year's celebration at the Clubhouse.
During the summer of 1982, we traveled to Germany and, under the direction of our Vorplattler and “Travel Director” Martin Hubner, visited our Stammverein, Almrausch Regensburg, as well as clubs in Simbach and Planegg. Our itinerary also included attending a Trachtenfest in Steingaden as well as dancing in Burgenland, Austria.
In 1983 we attended the 50th Anniversary celebration of our Patenverein, Edelweiss Westchester and on 4th of July weekend, 91 members traveled to Cleveland by charter bus to attend the 9. Gaufest. Our Preisplattler team placed 4th, and we danced the Pinzgauer with 22 couples. On September 17, we danced at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the 300th anniversary of German immigration, and on Columbus Day weekend, we attended the 50th Anniversary of Edelweiss Buffalo.
At our Christmas Party in 1984, Loretta Tietz was made Ehren Correspondence Secretary in recognition for her many years of service. During the first weekend in March 1985 we hosted the Gau Executive Board Meeting at the clubhouse and at the 10. Gaufest in Denver, Colorado, our Preisplattlers placed 6th, and we brought home the Meistpreis. After the Gaufest, two buses filled with members and guests traveled to Taos, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas for a very enjoyable tour. On December 27 we sponsored a Fundraising Dance at Castle Harbour Casino for Anneliese Kiendl, our young member who needed a heart transplant. We are very appreciative of all organizations that gave so freely of their time, energy and financial support.
In 1986 Erich Bayer gave up his position as Gau Vorplattler after many years of dedicated service. Richard Killian was elected President at the annual meeting. On Saturday, July 6, we danced at the South Street Seaport during the festival celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, and at our Labor Day weekend gathering at the Clubhouse, we officially accepted Almrausch San Francisco's request to be their Patenverein by holding the traditional Patenbitten. In the fall we attended the Fahnenweihe of Alpenroesl St. Catherine's.
In January 1987 the "Fasching mit die Zwei Enzian" dance was resurrected. William Hubner was made Ehren President at our Bauernball; and at the Annual Meeting Erich Bayer became President and Adam Schaefer Vorplattler. We traveled to Milwaukee for the 11. Gaufest and our Preisplattlers placed 4th. During the summer, we hosted a plattler weekend at the clubhouse with Edelweiss Westchester, Almrausch Poughkeepsie, Almrausch Philadelphia and Alpenveilchen Silver Springs participating.
1988 began with another "Fasching mit die Zwei Enzian" dance. We spent a Gemuetlichen Abend with the crew of the German Navy ship, the Zerstoerer "Bayern" and the location of our annual Bauernball was moved to the Kismet Temple. During the course of the year, we attended the Fahnenweihes of Alpenveilchen Silver Springs, Alpenklang Troy and our new Patenkind, Almrausch San Francisco. Plattler/Volleyball Tournament weekends at the clubhouse were becoming a tradition.
In May 1989 we participated in Judges' Training workshop weekend, in anticipation of the 12. Gaufest. At the annual meeting Johnny Knabel became Vorplattler and Marianne Hubner was elected our first Vortaenzerin. As always, we made thousands of potato pancakes and bratwurst, poured countless pitchers of beer, and danced our hearts out at our Annual Bavarian Bierfest in New Hackensack. At the Parsippany Gaufest, hosted by Bayern Verein Newark and Edelweiss Passaic, we took home the Meistpreis and, for the first time since 1973, a 3rd Place trophy for Preisplattling. Summer activities this year included dancing at the Hunter Mountain German Alps Festival. Over Labor Day weekend we joined with the Mahopac Fire Dept. in hosting their first Bavarian Fest to celebrate their 75th Anniversary.
At the annual meeting in 1990 Larry Damiani was elected President and Adam Schaefer Vorplattler. We attended Edelweiss Buffalo's Waldfest, Maple Leaf Almrausch Ottawa's Fahnenweihe, United German Hungarians' Kirchweih Fest and danced at the Hunter Mountain German Alps Fest.
In 1991 we once again hosted the Gauverband Executive Board meeting in the Clubhouse. and attended Almrausch Poughkeepsie's Fahnenweihe. At the 13. Gaufest in Vancouver, we won the Meistpreis and a 3rd Place trophy for our Preisplattlers. Many of our members continued the Gaufest celebration by cruising from Vancouver to Alaska, and plattling aboard the New Amsterdam. In the fall many clubs joined us as we celebrated our 60th Anniversary with a Heimat Abend and Gala Dinner Dance in the Polish Hall.
At the Gau Delegates Meeting hosted by the United German Hungarians in May 1992, we submitted a letter of intent to bid for the 2001 Gaufest. Our summer included many weekends of dancing at Great Adventure Six Flags and the Hunter Mountain German Alps Festival. The First Legends of Soccer weekend, featuring a soccer tournament with United German Hungarians was held in July. Volleyball/Plattler weekend was again held at the Clubhouse, as well as a Halloween Party, and a '50s Sock Hop to close out the year.
On the weekend of May 22-25, 1993 we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Rededication of the Clubhouse. Saturday began with brunch; then promptly proceeded to planning the Clubhouse Modernization Project. We gathered for cocktails at 4 p.m., and Ehren President George Lindner, who rechristened the clubhouse 25 years ago, began the official ceremony. President Larry Damiani broke a bottle of champagne against the corner of the house, and rededicated the clubhouse in the name of the members who built it, the members who rebuilt it 25 years ago, and those who will begin the rebuilding project now. After dancing a Massen Steirer on the volleyball court, the evening was highlighted by a slide show of Clubhouse Memories.
In July, we traveled to Buffalo for the 14. Gaufest. It was truly a memorable weekend: our Preisplattler Team brought home the first place Wanderpreis. In addition, 145 tickets gave us the Meistpreis; and we danced the Stern Polka with 28 couples. We began advertising our bid to host the 18. Gaufest -- "It's coming. ...2001, a Gaufest Odyssey."
The second Legends of Soccer tournament was held at the United German Hungarians clubhouse. We danced at the Mahopac Fire Department's Oktoberfest, attended Edelweiss Westchester's 60th Anniversary, Bronxer Bayern's 60th Anniversary, and accepted HSV Bavaria’s (New Haven, CT) request to be their Patenverein.
For the first time in our history, the Wanderpreis was proudly displayed at our 1994 Bauernball. In March we accepted Bergvagabunden Schuhplattler’s request to be their Patenverein. In July we participated in United German Hungarians' Fahnenweihe, and at the end of the month, visited the United German Hungarians once again for the third Legends of Soccer tournament.
During the summer, the Gemuetlichen Enzianer traveled to Germany with 47 people. We visited five Vereine, beginning as guests of Hans Zapf in Munich, followed by a Heimatabend with D'Wuermtaler, arranged by Hans Menzinger, and on to Grabenstaedt, Bad Reichenhall and Diessen. Labor Day weekend at the clubhouse was celebrated with a Hawaiian Luau, and Patenbitten with the Bergvagabunden Schuhplattler was held on Thanksgiving weekend. New Years Eve was celebrated "Hollywood style" at the clubhouse.
Patenbitten was held in the Clubhouse on Memorial Day weekend 1995 with our Patenkind, HSV Bavaria. At the annual meeting, Joseph Hubner was elected President, and in July we traveled to Milwaukee for the 15. Gaufest, where our Preisplattler team took 2nd place. During the summer we joined the United German Hungarians for a Legends of Soccer weekend and again hosted volleyball/plattler weekend at the clubhouse. On Labor Day weekend "Ladies' Day" again had the male members taking to the stove to honor the "ladies in the kitchen." In the fall several of our younger members traveled to Germany and included a visit with our Stammverein Almrausch Regensburg. On October 13-15, we attended the Fahnenweihe of our Patenkind, the Bergvagabunden Schuhplattler in Kingston, New York.
1996 was a year of mixed feelings for the Gemuetlichen Enzianer. We were saddened by the loss of many of our prominent members: Founder and Ehren Vorplattler, Kurt Mietzner; his wife, and our founder and Fahnenmutter, Tillie Mietzner; Ehren Correspondence Secretary, Loretta Tietz and Ehren President George Lindner. We attended Auerhahn Oley's Fahnenweihe in May, and celebrated our Patenkind, HSV Bavaria's Fahnenweihe on July 4 weekend. The newly restarted Kindergruppe performed at our Bavarian Fest with the New Hackensack Fire Department for the first time and in August we hosted a Patenverein/Patenkinder weekend at the Clubhouse.
In May 1997 our Kindergruppe attended the Kinderfest hosted by Schlierachtaler Stamm in Gateway National Park. 1997 also saw our last New Hackensack Bavarian Fest. In July we traveled to the 16. Gaufest in Delaware, where our Preisplattlers placed 5th. Realizing that costs in New York City were prohibitive and would not enable us to present a Gaufest that everyone could attend, the club voted overwhelmingly in favor of hosting the 2001 Gaufest at the Nevele Resort in Ellenville, NY, an all-inclusive, leave your wallet at home, Gaufest Odyssey.
After an absence of several years, the German Alps Fest was resurrected in the Bavarian Manor in Purling and we danced there on the weekend after the Gaufest. Realizing that our time in the clubhouse was limited, Labor Day weekend became a Tribute Weekend, sharing memories of the golden years of the clubhouse and the members who made them happen. In November we attended the 75th Anniversary Dinner/Dance of Original Enzian and later that same month, made our Lincoln Center debut, dancing the Steirer and the Kuhglocken at the European Folk Festival, a prestigious event with its own Playbill, listing the Gemuetlichen Enzianer with Adam Schaefer, Director.
At the Delegates Meeting at United German Hungarians in May 1998, we officially became the hosts of the 2001 Gaufest. In 1998 another event would change the history of the Gemuetlichen Enzianer forever. At a special meeting, after much discussion, serious thought, and many tears, the membership voted in favor of "beginning the process of selling the clubhouse" - a vote reflecting the hope that the clubhouse was not just the building, but rather the spirit of the members. Plans to sell the clubhouse did not stop us from holding a Hungarian Goulash Fest with Hungarian costumes, Austrian-Hungarian food, and gypsy music. During that summer, our Kindergruppe attended the Kinderfest in Reading.
In March 1999 the Gauverband Executive Board was welcomed to New York at a Heimatabend in our Vereinslokal and then traveled to the Nevele Resort to experience first hand the concept of an all-inclusive Gaufest. In June we held a Clubhouse Cleanup Day, where members lovingly packed up memorabilia, and memories, for safe-keeping. In July we signed the contract of sale - an era had come to an end. We traveled to St. Paul for the Gaufest and, in the midst of a tent filled with blue and white 2001 Gaufest balloons, were awarded the Meistpreis and the 2nd place trophy in Preisplattling. We accepted a wander-scepter from Edelweiss St. Paul to be passed on at the next Gaufest. The annual Labor Day celebration was held in the house and yard of our members with the spirit definitely still there, even down to the traditional Horseshoe Tournament. In the fall several of our young members traveled to Germany for the Oktoberfest, and again continued the tradition of visiting our Stammverein, Almrausch Regensburg.
In April 2000 we attended the 75th Anniversary of Almrausch Philadelphia and in May the Gau Delegates meeting in Omaha. At the Annual Meeting, Richard Killian was elected President. Legends of Soccer weekend was moved to Riedlbauers' Resort in the Catskills, with the United German Hungarians joining us for the traditional soccer game as well as our presentation of a clubhouse deer head "mascot" for their 2003 Gaufest. The annual Labor Day celebration moved to Lido Beach, L.I.
Although 2001 began on a sad note, with the passing of our last founding member, Maya Kiendl, wife of founder Hans Kiendl, and our unofficial first Vortaenzerin., Gaufest 2001 at the Nevele Resort highlighted our 70th Anniversary year. In addition to the usual Gaufest events, the weekend included a Fruehshoppen on Friday morning, Kinder Einzelplattling, and Adult Einlezplattling as an exhibition event. At the Picnic in the Nevele Chalet, Gemuetlichen Enzianer won first place in the Preisplattler competition. Weekend festivities concluded with a Farewell Pool Party.
In September 2001 the tragedy of 9/11 would change the lives of New Yorkers, as well as every other human being, forever. Telephone calls and letters of support poured in – from Germany as well as America. Out of respect, the Steuben Parade, Oompah Fest, and many other events were canceled.
At the Annual Meeting held in September at our new Vereinslokal, Plattdeutsche Park, Joseph Hubner became Vorplattler. The year came to a close with a gala 70th Anniversary Dinner/Dance, held at Westbury Manor.
In 2002 we held an Easter Brunch featuring Pin-the–ail-on-the-Bunny, an Easter Egg Hunt and games for both children and adults. At our annual Bauernball, Adam Schaefer became Ehren Vorplattler. Our Kindergruppe attended the Kinderfest hosted by the United German Hungarians, and in July a large contingent traveled to Alpenland Montreal for their 50th Anniversary weekend. During the fall we marched in the Steuben Parade, with Siegfried and Roy as Grand Marshals, and spent a weekend dancing at the Octoberfest at Whiteface Mountain. Ghosts and goblins and witches both young and old were a scary sight as they trick-or-treated at the Halloween Party.
Memories and memorabilia were taken out of storage in February 2003 for the Clubhouse Auction. In traditional clubhouse fashion, members brought hors d’ourves or desserts, and bid on treasures from the clubhouse era. In March we attended the 70th Anniversary celebration of our Patenverein, Edelweiss Westchester.
At our Bauernball Stephen Killian was made Ehren Vice President and the first members of the second generation of Gemuetlichen Enzianer received Ehren Urkunden and their fifty-year pins: Erich Bayer, Marianne Mietzner Hubner, Hugo Kiendl and Kurt Meitzner. At the 19. Gaufest, hosted by United German Hungarians in Philadelphia, our Preisplattler team won third prize and we brought home the Meistpreis. Members William Hubner and Erich Bayer were honored by the Gauverband, and became, respectively, Ehren Gaukassier and Ehren Gauvorplattler. We attended Schlierachtaler Stamm’s 75th Anniversary celebration and at the end of October the ghosts and goblins once again came out of hiding for the Halloween Brunch.