Thursday, October 2, 2008

German-American Weekend in Indy

German-American Day has turned into German-American Weekend – at least in Indianapolis. In addition to events traditionally sponsored by various local organizations on the actual holiday – 6 October – the city celebrates the 20th anniversary of its partnership with Cologne, Germany, as part of Sister Cities International, today through Monday.

A 30-member delegation from Cologne arrived in Indianapolis Tuesday, representing the German portion of the two-city partnership.

Today, after breakfast in the Columbia Club, Dr. Giles Hoyt leads the visitors on a downtown walking tour, highlighting the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. In the afternoon, there are visits to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This evening includes a dinner hosted by the Indianapolis-Cologne Sister City Committee.

Friday morning starts with an 8:15 a.m. breakfast with Dr. Werner Hoyer, a member of the German Bundestag (FDP party), in the offices of the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. Dr. Hoyer will discuss "Global Challenges and Changes in Leadership in the United States and Europe" in a presentation sponsored by the Indianapolis Eric M. Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany, Indianapolis-Cologne Sister City Committee and Independent Colleges of Indiana.

Friday also includes a visit to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, followed by stops at other attractions in White River State Park including the Indiana State Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo. An architectural tour of Columbus is scheduled for Saturday.

Saturday evening, the Cologne visitors will participate in “A Taste of Germany”. The fundraiser, which benefits both the local Sister City committee and the Indianapolis Fire Department Firefighters Local 416 “Survive Alive” Program, is 5-9 p.m. in the historic Firefighters Union Hall, 748 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis. There’ll be authentic German food, plus 16 different labels of German beer to try. Admission (over 21 only) is $50.

The annual German-American Day Celebration at the Indianapolis City Market hosted by the Indiana German Heritage Society is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday. There'll be music by Die Doppel-Adler and traditional dancers performing.

German-American Day celebrations continue from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday in the Biergarten of the Athenaeum / Das Deutsche Haus, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis, with an informal party to bid auf Wiedersehen to the Cologne visitors.

The Sister City agreement was signed in 1988 by then-Mayor William H. Hudnut III, and reaffirmed in 1998 by then-Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. It will be reaffirmed this year by Mayor Greg Ballard.

Chairman of the Indianapolis-Cologne Sister City Committee is Sven Schumacher.

German-American Day commemorates Oct. 6, 1683, when the first immigrants from Germany arrived on North American soil.

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