OGDEN -- A family of visitors to Friday's Sneddon Hof German Winterfest and Craft Boutique literally would not have been a unit had it not been for the man whose name the festival sports.
The annual event now held each year at the Golden Spike Event Center Exhibit Hall, along with a sister-city relationship with Hof, Germany, was the brainchild of the late Scott Sneddon, a former Ogden councilman and mayor.
Among dozens of exchanges Sneddon orchestrated over the years between Hof and Ogden was bringing an 18-year-old soccer player, Manuel Rietzsch, to Weber State University in fall 1999.
"The plan was just to play soccer for a semester and go home, but it didn't work out that way," Rietzsch said.
The young Manuel soon met his sweetheart, Lindsey, and the two were later married.
Friday, the couple that now lives in Clearfield visited the annual festival with their three children -- Gabe, 4, Paisley, 2, and Cambry, 2 months.
They were just a few of the thousands of visitors to attend Friday, along with Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who required a host of security officers to make his way to the event.
The Sneddon Hof German Winterfest, which typically draws about 5,000 visitors, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
This weekend's event continues from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today at the Golden Spike Event Center Exhibit Hall at 1000 N. 1200 West.
The first Hof German Winterfest was in 1987 in downtown Ogden.
This year's event features the traditional live German music and dancing and German food, as well as some new craft vendors. The new vendors include one who offers a chance to build your own stuffed animal, another with European clothing and one who offers souvenirs, such as Russian nesting dolls.
One vendor who said he has enjoyed his association with the festival over the years is Thomas Ryan, of Ogden. A photographer, Ryan sells his artistic displays of scenes throughout the greater Ogden area at the annual event.
He said he likes being there. "I have no German blood, but it's fun. I like the music and the people."
The event also offers an opportunity for Katherine Sneddon, Scott Sneddon's widow, who now lives in Pleasant View, to raise money for a scholarship she and her daughter, Lisa Trujillo, sponsor each year for a radiology student at WSU in Scott Sneddon's name.
The mother and daughter sell felt chicken hats, jewelry, photo calendars from Germany and pins featuring the Werschtlamo, the German sausage street vendor symbol for the festival. Her sales go to raise money for the scholarship.
Katherine Sneddon, another member of the festival planning committee, said besides sharing through the scholarship, she enjoys serving Ogden-area residents by providing them with the opportunities the festival affords.
"You kind of see how cultures can appreciate each other and how friendships grow." she said.
Pointing to the event's potential to introduce cultural experiences to young people, she said it can help them to better understand their world.