2017 Annual Texas German Society Convention In La Grange, Texas

The Texas German Society to Hold its State-wide Annual Convention in La Grange March 18 By Paul Schenck

An estimated 400 members of the Texas German Society (TGS) and its seventeen chapters from throughout the state will meet in La Grange on March 18. This 34th annual state convention of the TGS will gather in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 190 South Brown St, starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Morning coffee and kolaches will have a background of traditional German music performed by past-president Robert Herridge of Bellville on the violin and accordion.

The program starting at 9:30 celebrates the well-preserved history of  Fayette County and its growth from pioneer village to prime tourist destination.  County Judge Ed Janecka will start off telling about the Painted Churches and the German settlements that preserved them so faithfully. He knows the subject well, being one of the parishioners who worked to restore his own pioneer church in Dubina, as well as the county’s $5 million restoration showpiece, the Fayette County Courthouse.

La Grange Mayor Janet Moerbe will tell about an even more recent multi-million-dollar restoration project. The  just-completed Casino Hall was   never a gambling institution, but a proper place of instruction for German children and a meeting hall and entertainment center for German families. Its proper preservation advances the city’s cultural prospects far into the future.

The restored Fayette County Courthouse is also one of the business addresses of the third speaker, District Judge Jeff Steinhauser of Flatonia.  His district also includes Austin and Waller counties. Judge Steinhauser will talk about one of his favorite subjects, “The influence of law in Fayette County.”

The final hour of the morning program is set aside for the business meeting of the Texas German Society. It will be conducted by Glenn Altwein, current president, and other officers of the Society. Besides election of new officers, winners of the TGS scholarship program will be announced by Grace Holtkamp of Sealy, committee chair.

The noon luncheon includes traditional Fayette County foods, such as  chicken-fried chicken, green beans and buttered potatoes. It also includes such German niceties like sauerkraut and sausage.

Entertainment following the noon meal is also typical Fayette County and German. The La Grange High School German Folk Dancers will perform under the direction of Lee Ann Hartmann, their German teacher.

A new group of county-wide German singers is being rehearsed by Don Kirby, music director at St. James Episcopal Church in La Grange. Volunteer singers are still able to sign up for this inaugural  performance of the La Grange-based “Elysian Singers”. To volunteer, call Georg Ulbrich at (979) 247-4936.

Co-Hosts for the convention are the Fayette County Chapter, Texas German Society, Georg Ulbrich, president, and Lee County Chapter TGS, Don Ahrendt, president.

Tickets for the day-long program including breakfast and noon lunch are $15 when registering by mail by March 10. If postmarked after March 10 or at the door, the cost is $20 (no food guarantee for walk-ins). Make checks payable to Fayette County TGS; Send to Mannie Fritsch, 250 South Main, La Grange TX 78945. Further questions may be answered by Mannie at (979) 968-3382.

Table booths are available free for non-profit organizations and for a $25 fee paid in advance for commercial vendors. Contact Charles Murray, (979) 968-6715.

A silent auction will be conducted from  8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. Saturday,  selling items submitted by each TGS chapter. The silent auction proceeds benefit the scholarship funds.

No Friday afternoon activity is planned for those attending the TGS convention because of the weekend-long “La Grange Uncorked—Wine and Food Festival” planned for the Courthouse Square March 17-19.