Willkommen zum Germanfest!

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) It’s one of the most anticipated festivals all summer: Germanfest.

Break out the ledrhosen and sauerkraut for the 34th annual Germanfest. The festival starts Sunday with a traditional German mass, also known as a Gottesdienst, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 518 E. Dewald Street.

“Fort Wayne has always been a real German town. Lots of German immigrants came here,” Ken Scheibenberger Germanfest committee president said while on NewsChannel 15’s First News Saturday show.

In the late 1880s and early 1900s Fort Wayne’s leaders were primarily of German heritage, according to Scheibenberger. “Instead of having an Irish police force, we had a German police force.”

The city has continued its relationship with the German community over the years, including becoming a sister city to Gera, Germany in 1989. The week before the festival, several police officers from Gera visited the Summit City.

The other way Fort Wayne has kept its German roots alive has been though Germanfest-the community celebration with eating, drinking and dancing.

Events go throughout the week including a free German lesson at the community center on Monday. The main attraction, the Germanfest Tent at Headwaters Park, opens Wednesday at 11 a.m. with the tapping of the first keg. That’s the venue for popular events such as the ‘Show Us Your Legs ‘N Ledrhosen Contest,’ the National Wiener Dog Finals, and the Beer Stein Relay Race.

The festival runs from June 7 through June 14. For a full list of events, click here.

Check out photos from the 2014 Germanfest by clicking here.

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