BY KATY WALTERS
On Friday, September 28th, 2018, a new Oktoberfest event took place on Main Street called the German Market. It was started by some individuals who wanted to start off the big day with a special market open for vendors and individuals to sell their home-baked, and home-made goods. Foods from kuchen to noodles to honey were being sold as well as some hand-made earrings, crocheted scarves and gloves, and pumpkins and gourds.
Numerous tables and truck beds were set up and displayed beginning at 7:00 AM. It was cold and dark, but that didn’t stop the visitors from attending. Almost everyone started off with a trip to the Breathe Coffee House station set up with free coffee to warm up the guests.
Vendors from all backgrounds and cultures participated in this event. For instance, Travis Cassidy, who only moved to Hays two years ago, mentioned that he was interested in joining the market once he read about it on the city website. Others have grown up in Ellis County their entire lives and have continued to make recipes handed down from generations before them.
“[The German Heritage] is extremely important,” said Hays native, Becky Rogowski. “It is how Hays got its start and it’s important to keep those stories alive.”
One of the more interesting items for sale was local, raw honey from the Jensen Farms. Amy Jensen mentioned that she and her husband found out about the German market by the Downtown Hays Market.
“It’s the core of the community, and the food is still apart of it,” said Jensen when discussing the significance of the German culture.
Another booth had noodles for sale by Susan Dinges. She discussed the importance of tradition and culture.
“Everyone is so busy, it’s nice to carry on tradition. As the older generation is getting older, [it’s important] that the younger ones keep it going, keep the foods, recipes, and ideas,” said Dinges. “When I was younger, the surrounding German towns, Shoenchen, Catherine, Liebenthal, Victoria, each set up booths with foods from their community, and that’s how I believe it started.”
As a great way to kick off a weekend of festivities, the German Market brought people together to share one of the deepest parts of the Volga German heritage in Ellis County: food. What people remember most about growing up German are the recipes that were handed down from generation to generation. Food is a great way to keep the culture alive and the German Market aided in passing down this tradition.