Big changes are on the horizon for one of Frankenmuth’s oldest and most cherished festivals, The Bavarian Festival. Festival organizers have made a decision to move the festival to downtown, back to its roots. The main event will take place in Zehnder Park, including the traditional German festivities such as the Maypole Dancers and the Festival Olympics. There will also be other tented or entertainment areas downtown that are yet to be finalized. Organizers worked with the Chamber of Commerce to help reach out to businesses that would be impacted by the changes. “The exciting part of this change is the ability for the event to grow and evolve, bringing endless opportunity for local businesses and community groups now and into the future,” said Jamie Furbush, President/CEO of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. The festival’s location change also comes along with an approach that is collaborative in nature. “I’ve been overwhelmed with the support and positive feedback we received already,” said Russ Uphold, President of the Civic Events Council. Uphold added “We are excited to also announce that the festival will include a fireworks show this year thanks to some gracious sponsors.” The Convention & Visitors Bureau is also lending a hand with marketing this year. From a marketing standpoint, organizers intend to have much more to market than just the Festival itself as businesses and service groups come together to add enhancements and various festivities. This means there will be festival fun all along Main Street. While the 2017 changes are big, they are small in comparison to how the Civic Events Council envisions the event growing. Uphold said, “I look forward to the day that I can stand at the top of the hill and look in both directions to see festival activities. While we are starting in a location we can manage, we see big opportunity for this to spread up and down Main Street from one end of town to the other.”
While the location will change this year, many other elements will remain the same. And only a few will cease to happen. Both the Children’s Parade and the Bavarian Festival Parade will continue along their existing routes. While there will be lots of new activities planned for the children, the amusement rides will not continue in the new environment. The Civic Events Council is also working with its service organization partners regarding adjustments to their previous activities such as the pancake breakfast, chicken barbeques, pretzel sales and others. Some groups may choose to relocate their activities while others may look at this as an opportunity try something new. In future years, it is the hope that even more groups and businesses will find ways to collaborate and offer something during the Festival. The Bavarian Festival will no longer happen in just one place with activities organized by just one group. It will be a collection of events and activities put on by many people, businesses and service clubs to create a whole experience that is wide-spread, vibrant and celebrates the Bavarian heritage of our community in fun new ways. Uphold added “We hope this becomes something the locals will come together to enjoy, celebrate and be a part of.” The Bavarian Festival will kickoff on Thursday, June 8 and conclude on Sunday, June 11 in downtown Frankenmuth. More details will be released soon along with the updated schedule of events. For questions, please contact Russ Uphold at Bavarianfestivalmuth@gmail.com.