German flavors flow for the return of annual Labor Day Volksfest

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "So many of us have grown up since being little kids coming here having a bratwurst and our beer and the fun and the music and the merriment," said Peter Jauss. "We just like to keep that going for the enjoyment of both Germans and non-Germans in Philadelphia."

Jauss followed his father's footsteps as a member of the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, the largest German-American club in Philadelphia. Now, he serves as its president.

The 149-year legacy of the club has been tested more than once. With a history extending back to 1873, the idea of a pandemic-inducing virus was not new to its institution.

"Had a few interruptions 100 years ago due to the Spanish Flu, last year due to COVID," said Jauss. "But we're back this year, firing on all cylinders and we welcome everyone and hope you all come and be safe and have a good time."

The Labor Day Volksfest is the crown jewel for the club, providing most of its funding for the rest of the year. But when the festivities went silent in 2020, Jauss says it was the community's support that kept the club alive.

"We had so many members give of their own good fortune and make countless donations to the club," he said. "We were fortunate to get an SBA loan and grants from the city of Philadelphia and that just kind of helped keep things going."

Outside of the three-day festival, the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein serves as a caterer for community events and hosts a biergarten every Friday and select Saturdays from April to October.

But for those looking to walk through the lively German village that pops up once per trip around the sun, the Volkfest continues until 8:00pm on Labor Day.

"We got some games out right now. Some of them might get up and dance," said Tom Schied of Abington. "Even if it's just once a year, just to kind of remember that German tradition and remember where you came from and be proud to be American as well."

The organization also prides itself on inviting all walks of life through their gates to experience German food, music, and arts.

"I'm not German but I feel German today," said Joe Conicello from South Philadelphia.

To learn more about Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, visit their website.

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