German Festival  

Nobody celebrates like the Germans! Germany is intent on preserving its history through its festival traditions with a festival celebration for nearly every occasion throughout the year. In this tradition, the Door County Historical Society  will celebrate mid’ summer with a German Festival at the Heritage Village at Big Creek on Saturday, August 12 from 10 am – 3 pm.

One way German cities preserve their customs and traditions is with “Volksfeste” or peoples’ festivals. Thuringer bratwurst may be traced back to the year 1404 in Erfurt; since then, an annual bratwurst festival has been held. Can you think of a better reason to have a festival than to celebrate bratwurst? The Heritage Village will celebrate German food featuring the bratwurst with accompaniments of German potato salad, red cabbage and sauerkraut. You may finish your meal with delicious German chocolate cake or Black Forest cherry cake topped with whipping cream.

During the festival, the blacksmiths will give demonstrations throughout the day, and in keeping with the German theme, Marion Schley will demonstrate how to make sauerkraut in a crock or in a jar at 10:30 and 12:15. Clap or dance along when Helen Cordon plays German music on her accordion. Then, at 11:00 and 1:30 Nan and Jerry Krause will give programs on German immigration: when, where, and why did Germans come to Wisconsin. The Madden Tool Museum will be open with brothers Mike and Pat Madden explaining some of the tools in our collection. Guests may meet some of Door County’s native birds of prey visiting the Heritage Village from Open Door Bird Sanctuary.  Live raptors and education tables filled with “hands on” activities. From 10 until 2:00, volunteers will share fun facts about hawks, owls and falcons.

In between quenching your thirst and appetite during German Festival on August 12, you may explore the Heritage Village during self-guided tours from 10:00 until 3:00. Admission to the Village’s historic buildings, German Festival, demonstrations, birds of prey, and programs is $6 for adults 18 years and older; no admission fee is charged for children, but donations are appreciated. Menu items are available for purchase.

The Heritage Village at Big Creek is an interpretive center of the Door County Historical Society, located at 2041 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay, adjacent to Crossroads. If the parking lot is closed for construction, please park across the street at White Tails Unlimited. For additional program information contact the Door County Historical Society at (920) 421-2332 or email

Founded in 1926, the Door County Historical Society keeps history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation and sharing of the heritage of Door County. The Society is a membership organization that operates two interpretive sites: Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park and the Heritage Village at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay.

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