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Kindermaskenball leads crowd to Folkfest

By Myra Lee Adams Goff

Step into the past this coming Saturday and Sunday at the Folkfest put on by the Heritage Society at the Heritage Village on Churchhill Drive. The whole event kicks off with the annual children’s masked parade, known as Kindermasken (children’s masks) or the old way, Kindermaskenball (children’s masked dance). Doesn’t New Braunfels just love parades?

Children like to dress up and parade around and they were doing this in Germany long before the settlers came here in 1845. The immigrants brought the tradition with them and supposedly Hermann Seele organized the local event here in 1857. The reason for children parading goes way back too. Children represent new life and Spring represents a new year. Although it has changed over the years, the tradition lives on.

“Kindermaskenball: Past and Present” written by Rosemarie Leissner Gregory and Myra Lee Adams Goff can be purchased at the Sophienburg. The book illustrates, through photographs, the changes in the tradition from the beginning to the 1920s, the war years and up to the present.

This year children are asked to line up at 9:15 Saturday around the Main Fire Station and march towards the Plaza then to First Protestant Church. Two NBISD middle school bands will march. (Parade participants are invited to Folkfest where judging of costumes will be held. Each will receive one pass and one adult pass)

This is the 27th Folkfest put on by the Heritage Society. The setting at the Village is perfect with its beautiful wildflowers and historic buildings. There is something for everyone and especially children.

Ladies, this is what you can experience: Imagine getting up early to feed and milk the goats and feed the chickens. You fix biscuits in a small cottage that could easily be 100 degrees inside. Why do they taste better than canned biscuits? Now you sit down and make lace for the one dressy dress that you own. Look how the handwork is piling up. Let the kids help you wash clothes in a wash tub using lye soap on an old wooden scrub board. By the way, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Ferdinand Lindheimer Chapter, will be there to help you with your genealogy. Were your ancestors in Texas during the Republic?

There is plenty for you men to do. First there is a chuck wagon cooking demonstration. That will come in handy when you make biscuits, cobbler and stew outside. Go by the Texian tents where the re-enactors are camping out. There are also Civil War re-enactors. What a show they put on with their canons that they really do fire. How about learning about native plants and you might as well learn how to make adobe bricks. The blacksmith demo is really interesting since I’ll bet not too many of you do that any more.

Now comes the real highlight of Folkfest, children’s activities. Kids, you can learn how to make a kite and then most important how to fly it. Of course there are the old favorites, candle dipping and the making of clay pots or whatever. You can learn how to make arrowheads and play games like sack races, hoops and graces, lassoing and stick pony races. There’s a bird feeding activity where you make a bird feeder using peanut butter. And for you little girls, you can dress up (clothes provided) and go to a real tea party.

On Sunday, Ravenstar will teach you how to identify birds and the Gorge Preservation Group of Canyon Lake will have an archeological dig and just maybe you will find a little dinosaur.

Both days there will be entertainment like Ballet Folklorico and Kindertanzen. There will be music and food of all sorts. You can see things like snakes. No, they won’t just be crawling around, they will be caged. You can shop for antiques and collectibles and tour the buildings on the grounds. What a great way to learn about the past and have fun at the same time.

All of our historical museums like Heritage, Sophienburg, Conservation, Railroad, plus the County and City Historical groups are doing such a good job of keeping our history alive. Hats off to them all!

Artist Patricia S. Arnold’s drawing for the “Kindermaskenball: Past and Present” book. Her rendition depicts the grandchildren of authors Gregory and Goff.

Artist Patricia S. Arnold’s drawing for the “Kindermaskenball: Past and Present” book. Her rendition depicts the grandchildren of authors Gregory and Goff.