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Concept of regional German heritage celebration moving forward

by Stacey Colwell

 COUNTY - The notion of a regional German heritage celebration is going to the next level.

 "[It's] a concept that it appears the private sector have bought into in a big way, and the community wants it," said Municipality of Lunenburg Mayor Don Downe on November 17, when committee of the whole approved a recommendation to propose the idea at an upcoming meeting between regional mayors and senior executives.

 A staff report said there were already a number of separate but related events in Lunenburg County.

 "It was determined that the region as a whole would be better served to bring all of the existing events together and create a German heritage celebration," said the report.

 "This would see existing events expanded upon, new events created and old events brought back to life."

 The tentative schedule from June through November 2012 includes Lunenburg's Settlers' Day; a German band concert; a themed family day at the MARC; an immigration potluck at the DesBrisay Museum; Lunenburg pudding, sausage and sauerkraut making at Ross Farm; Oktoberfest celebrations in Bridgewater and The Forties; a Tancook Island harvest slow food supper; and the Chester Christmas gingerbread festival.

 "What we see as a possible kickoff event is on June 7, which is the Town of Lunenburg's birthday," said economic development officer Dave Waters, who compared the theme to that of Cape Breton's Celtic Colours.

 "It's an annual thing that will hopefully grow."

 A steering committee with various stakeholders has already been established and discussions are under way with the Lunenburg Queens Regional Development Agency and Destination Southwest Nova.

 "The option of hiring a project co-ordinator and marketing funding are real possibilities," said the report.

 Committee of the whole ultimately recommended the concept be brought forward to a meeting between regional mayors and executives to determine if it would be supported both in principle and financially.

 "All they need is a catalyst or a co-ordinator to get this thing moving, and I think it shows leadership if we take that step," said Councillor Martin Bell.

 Lunenburg County was established in 1759 and named after King George, Duke of Brunschweig-Lüneburg, a duchy in what is now northern Germany, according to the staff report.

 "Settled largely by families coming from the Upper Rhine area of modern Germany, the region still contains a large German connection."

 The Town of Lunenburg was settled in 1753 by about 1,400 German immigrants who spread across the region, including New Ross, Bridgewater and, of course, New Germany.

 "Many families in the region are descended from these original German settlers, and many German family names such as Zwicker, Conrad and others remain virtually unchanged. Others have changed greatly - Gurtzson became Getson over time and Bubikoffer became Publicover."

posted on 11/23/11
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