OGDEN -- A "Willkommen" sign and the sound of polka music greeted guests to the 28th annual Sneddon Hof Germanfest on Friday at the Exhibit Hall of the Golden Spike Event Center.
Festival-goers enjoyed delights such as bienenstich, a German pastry filled with whipping cream and custard and topped with caramel and almonds, and berliners, of ich bin ein fame, from Vosen's Bread Paradise. Seigfried's Delicatessen served up some wienerschnitzel, goulasch, spaetzle and bratwurst to a long line of hungry visitors. There was even a beer booth serving Wasatch Hefeweizen and Squatters Dunkelweizen for those who needed a little liquid courage before attempting the Chicken Dance.
Jim Harvey, general manager of the Golden Spike Event Center, said Sneddon Hof Germanfest draws more than 5,000 people a year. Harvey said Weber County produces the event at no cost to taxpayers. The event is able to pay for itself through admission charges, despite the cost of flying in musical acts like Euroherz-Musikanten from Hof, Germany.
Harvey also said students enrolled in German classes from junior highs and high schools in Weber, Davis and Box Elder counties are invited to the festival every year for some food, entertainment and a cultural experience that will expand upon what they learn in their classes.
Harvey said Scott Sneddon, a former Ogden City councilman and mayor, started the festival in 1985 as a way to maintain and invigorate the relationship between Ogden and its sister city, Hof, Germany.
"Scott Sneddon was pivotal in maintaining the city's relationship with Hof, Germany, and making sure that relationship continued to flourish," Harvey said.
Katherine Sneddon, wife of the late Scott Sneddon, was manning a booth at the festival with her daughter, Dr. Lisa Trujillo. The women were selling items to benefit the Scott Sneddon Memorial Scholarship Fund at Weber State University, where Trujillo works. The scholarship fund benefits students studying respiratory therapy at WSU.
"It's a family oriented event and it's a cultural experience," said Katherine Sneddon of the yearly festival her husband started almost 30 years ago. "It honors our sister city and encourages exchanges between our cities, which are very important. Young people who participate grow up having a greater appreciation for other cultures."
The young people in the audience on Friday definitely learned an appreciation for German music as Salzburger Echo's Mark Pyper trapped, cajoled and coaxed them into performing with him. Pyper lined up a group of high school students in front of the stage and handed them each a cowbell. Pyper then ran back and forth in front of the students and pointed a mic at them when it was their turn to shake their bell in tune with the song he was conducting.
"It's just fun," said Don Schrader, of Woods Cross, who was decked out in lederhosen, a colorful German tie, and a German hat adorned with pins from across Germany and Europe. "Good music, good food, good fun."
The festival continues until Saturday evening at 10 p.m. For more information on the Sneddon Hof Germanfest, visit the festival's website.