Ellis Welcomes Visitors
German descendants visit area during Bukovinafest
Posted April 25, 2018
Prior to the Bukovinafest 2017 last week in Ellis County, some of the guests arrived early to enjoy local hospitality.
Michael Augustin and his wife Baerbel from Germany have visited numerous times in the past, and brought with them Nancy Hoedel from Alaska and Leah Duda from Portland.
Michael is related to local Augustines who all share a heritage in Fuerstenthal, Bukovina.
Juanita Augustine, Norma Lang, and Pat and Oren Windholz hosted them at various lunches.
The board of directors scheduled a welcome dinner Thursday before the fest for others who arrived early.
Two of special guests attending were Dr. Alfred Wildfeuer and Dr. Nicole Eller, professors at universities in Germany.
This couple have also been prior visitors to Ellis, researching the local German dialect.
After the Ribbon Cutting in Ellis on Friday and welcome to all the guests by the Ellis Chamber of Commerce, some 50 people toured the Bukovina Society museum and headquarters.
A special display at the museum featured local artist Kenneth Eberle showing his spectacular turned wood exhibit..
Out of area visitors enjoyed the city and were treated to a special train ride by the Railroad museum staff.
Some have local relatives of Bukovina descent and were able to reunite.
On Saturday, Society president Oren Windholz opened the meetings, with an invocation by Marcy McClelland, Vice President.
She then gave the official welcome as a member of the Ellis County commission.
A series of power point presentations on Bukovina were given which at times saw nearly 100 people attending.
In the morning Al Lang gave a talk on growing up “Austrian” in Ellis about stories and experiences when he was young. Michael Augustin and his companions projected photos of their recent tour to the former Bukovina featuring the rural areas of the country.
In the afternoon Doug Reckmann of Portland presented on the migration from Bohemia to Bukovina. Guy Windholz gave a history of the orphan train children and their relations to Ellis County.
Dr. Wildfeuer and Dr. Bill Keel, ;professor at the University of Kansas gave presentations on the local German dialect, known as “Boem-Deitch,” one of the two dialects, the other being that of the Swabian Germans.
The evenings after dinner were times for Bukovina entertainment.
Joe Erbert played the dulcimer and was accompanied by Paul Flax on accordion on Friday followed by a sing along led by Dr. Keel.
More polkas provided the music for dancing. Saturday evening Dr. Keel taught the audience the Schnitzelbank song, then led them in singing it.
Spontaneous performances followed when Al Lang took to the accordion, playing and yodeling, a nearly lost tradition of the Bukovinians in the Carpathian Mountains.
Joe Erbert and Dr. Keel led another round of singing German songs.
In addition to the generous time and talent given to the Bukovinafest, some others helped out to make this a free event except for individual food tabs.
Darrell Seibel of Edward jones Investments provided the coffee and cold beverages.
Anni and Klaus Hauser of Munich sent funds for a German kucha dessert, and volunteers from the board of directors and spouses baked sheet cakes and Hemetschwengers, a Swabian Bukovina pastry, well known in Ellis.