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Early Summer Parties and Fests

June 9 to 15 , 2008

Written June 29, 2008

Dear Friends and Families,


After the wedding, it took some time before we even THOUGHT about routine. Nevertheless, when we had managed the 12-hour time zone change enough to be functional, we did try to do some of the things that we enjoy in our little neighborhood. Here are a few:

Second Annual Barn Party

EVERY year since 2007, we host a barbeque at our house for the "Americanish" people I work with. This is a group that gathers about once a month for lunch to chat about life as "ex-pats". So far, EVERY year it has rained. (Last year, we moved the whole thing into the barn.)

This year it seemed as if we would have luck. The morning weather held out long enough for me to mow the lawn and set out the garden furniture. Inside, Marianne was cooking up goodies.

I was not confident enough to set up the bar and barbeques outside, however. About an hour before guests arrived, the rain made its appearance. The sun umbrellas became rain shields.

The group managed to make use of the outside seating, between showers. That's what you have to learn to do here as ex-pats enjoying early German summer.

The storms did put on a nice display of clouds at the end of the day so we were left looking forward to next year (or earlier!).

Our Third Pommersfelden Dorf-fest

Most villages in our part of Germany have some sort of annual, traditional, street festival. These are great times for the kids to play in the streets and for the rest of us to eat and drink. German summers have plenty of opportunities for drinking and eating!

Pommersfelden, our village of several hundred residents, is no exception. This year we only had time for a Saturday meal, although there were events, food, drink and dancing from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. Maybe next year we'll be able to party all weekend, chatting in Frankish, and dancing the Slow Fox. Maybe.


Our First Grub Fair

"Grub" is a village about twenty minutes north of home. THEIR traditional summer festival features their farms, cherry orchards, and forests, all under the theme of "Tag der offener Baurenhof" or "Open Barnyard Day". The weekend offered a full agenda of events.And places for kids to play and adults to eat and drink.

The first cherry orchard we saw was a modern one, almost-indoors. The plastic covering made it like a giant greenhouse and the trees were bright green and filled with berries. Next door, the local wives were making the equivalent of farmer doughnuts. They took rounds of dough and fitted them over head-shaped molds, before placing them in boiling oil. Hot from the kettle, they were sprinkled with powdered sugar and snatched up by tradition-loving locals.

Grub is on the edge of the Steigerwald forest and trees are a big business for the local villages. Open Barnyard Day included displays of local trees ("Buche" is "birch"), chainsaw training, and automated firewood chopping. It reminded me of my childhood days at town fairs in Western Oregon. Same thing, but smaller trees and chainsaws.

Of course all this farm display could work up an appetite so there were the mandatory sales of local pies and cakes and the traditional open grill for steaks and sausages. I did wonder if the cows behind the thin wires would consider cakes or steaks (or kids) for their fest food, but they settled for grass.

There is also a tradition of hunting in the Steigerwald area and the local taxidermist was displaying his work. The local falconer was also displaying his work with this amazingly large and intimidating bird.

One of our favorite venues was this pink house on the edge of town. The house colors were pure Tuscany and the yards were filled with whimsy, such as this reclining-lady bench. This may have been our most favorite place in all of Grub, a cute village with a strange name. We will certainly keep it on our list of places to return to in future years.

So, three parties and the summer is just starting.


John and Marianne.


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