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Bavarian Princess

History of the Princess Program

In a small meeting room a group of dedicated Frankenmuth residents gave birth to an idea the would stand the test of time.  The Bavarian Festival had already had a successful run of over 5 years and it was time to start adding to the excitement, but what would create a draw that would make as large an impact as the festival itself?  Richard Rummel, Mrs. Harold Kaczynski, Richard Duclos, Wallace Riethmeier, and Cliff James had an idea and on Monday, March 25th, 1963, the Bavarian Princess was born. 

The first, ever, Bavarian Princess Application went into the newspaper on March 4th, 1963. With only a month and a half to apply the committee gathered ten poised young women to compete to have the honor of being crowned the very first Bavarian Festival Princess. 


The Princess Dinner was held  on May 2nd of that year.  This dinner was the night where one of the candidates would be chosen as the princess.  Three judges were in attendance to watch and judge the girls based on the three most important qualities, that are still so important to the program: Poise, Personality, and Communication Skills.  The group of competing women had been reduced to five prior to the dinner and the true competition began.  At the end of the evening Kathy Uebler (Nolan) was crowned Frankenmuth’s first Bavarian Princess.  Her attendants were Rhea Fischer, Cheryl Geyer, Mary Ann Gerschefske, and Marie Heine.  These five women started a tradition that continues to this day.

Since its first year, The Bavarian Princess Program has only flourished.  The program has had 54 princesses and nearly double that in attendants and court members.  The tea is now held at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and consists of a panel of 6 judges that select the top three candidates.  From there the three selected are invited to a second interview with three, third party judges.  The princess is selected at this interview, however, this is kept secret until the following week at The Bavarian Festival, where a coronation event is held on Thursday night.

The Princess and Court reign from June to June and attend approximately two dozen events, festivals, and parades around the state.  From Traverse City Cherry Festival to Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival the Court sees a vast amount of the state we call home.  The learn the cultures and the different traditions, but most importantly the Court represents and honors the city that crowned them, Frankenmuth.

A 1963, Frankenmuth Newspaper article stated that the original Bavarian Princess Selection Committee, “hoped that the Bavarian Princess would become a real feature in the festivals to come,” and it truly has.

Past Bavarian Festival Princesses


2019 - Lexi Barrett

2018 - Abby Engel
2017 - Jenna Mossner
2016 - Elizabeth Laux
2015 - Emilie (Howe) Bender
2014 - Kirsten Bierlein-Hollenback
2013 - Angela Lang
2012 - Morgan Townsend
2011 - Carolynn (Brown) Paten
2010 - Casey (Schnitker) Jobson


1999 - Jill (Schrems) Penate
1998 - Laura (Budnik) Brown
1997 - Carolyn (Piesko) Petzing
1996 -
Elizabeth (Deterding) Merrihew
1995 - Trish (Spencer) Scharrer
1994 - Cindy (Maurer) Schroeder
1993 - Bridget (Isquierdo) Smith
1992 - Anna (Mossner) Meyer
1991 - Jennifer (Keller) Standish
1990 - Carla (Reinhardt) Belill

2016243-2 Debbie Eichorn.JPG

2023 - Dylan Abke
2022 - Kadence McKenzie
2021 - Myla Soulliere


2009 - Britney (Reinert) Maurer
2008 - Kasey (Gugel) MacKinnon
2007 -
Renee (Auernhammer) Przystas
2006 - Katie Krafft
2005 - Mindy (Frahm) Bierlein
2004 - Melanie (Zuellig) Manthey
2003 - Sarah (Herzog) Donnan
2002 - Megan (Savard) Martinka
2001 - Kristy (Nemec) Engel
2000 - Jennifer (Hart) O'Brien


1989 - Cynthia (Banes) Keinath
1988 - Kristine (Frank) Gibson
1987 - Kimberly (Kalkman) Jabbar
1986 - Cheryl (Karst) Dzioba
1985 - Lisa King
1984 - Gail (Stephens) Brow
1983 - Kathryn Walker-Welch
1982 - Kimberly (Harms) Robinson
1981 - Andrea (Bueker) Helpap
1980 - Joyce (Kessler) Mello

1979 - Lynn (Showerman) Kaiser
1978 - Michele (Moskal) Chernenko
1977 - Deborah (Lips) Dunnam
1976 - Nanette Jekel
1975 - Christine (Schwab) Jablonski
1974 - Carla (Bronner) Spletzer
1973 - Debbie Eichhorn
1972 - Diane (Scharrer) Kinitsky
1971 - Barbara (Heindl) Jammer
1970 - Carolyn Ann (Goldammer) Frazee


1969 - Bonnie (Borchard) Baker
1968 - Faye (Bronner) VanWert
1967 - Sue (Finkbeiner) Piesko
1966 - Vera (Zehnder) Bamberg
1965 - Marcia (Vanek) Conaway
1964 - Diane (Schluckebier) Karst
1963 - Kathy (Uebler) Nolan

Photos supplied by the Frankenmuth Historical Association.

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