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What you need to know for 01/18/2017

Beer, brats and German tradition at Colonie picnic

Beer, brats and German tradition at Colonie picnic

As the Mountain Brauhaus band played traditional German music, Jean Powis and Kevin Liengyel were sh
Beer, brats and German tradition at Colonie picnic
The Mountain Brauhaus Band performs at the German Summerfest Picnic at the German-American Club of Albany on Sunday.
Photographer: Stacey Lauren-Kennedy
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As the Mountain Brauhaus band played traditional German music, Jean Powis and Kevin Liengyel were showing off all of their finest dance moves.

The Brunswick couple were among about 100 people who attended the German Summerfest Picnic at the German-American Club of Albany.

“We love coming to ethnic festivals to dance and enjoy the music,” Powis said. “It’s really a lot of fun.”

Lines to purchase food and beer were long but people seemed thoroughly enthused to be soaking in the sun and German culture. Sunday’s event was the third and final picnic of the summer at the club.

Heinze Ruppert, the vice president of the club, said the gatherings are a great place to enjoy German food, beer and music. Vendors offered a wide range of food and beer, from sauerkraut to potato salad as well as dark beer and light lagers.

“Everyone seems to have a really good time when they come here,” he said. “They dance and eat and drink. What could be bad about that?”

However, the future of the club is not as cheery, Ruppert said.

He said that the members of the club are mostly older and they are having a difficult time getting young people interested in German culture and bringing them to club events.

“As our members get older we need to show young people the benefits of the club,” he said. “I am not sure what the best way is to do that however.”

Joanne Fitzgibbons of Latham said the festival is a major attraction for her and her husband.

“It’s nice being outside and dancing and drinking good beer on a gorgeous day like today,” she said. “There is a good crowd and its really a lot of fun.”

Among the attendees was U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, who said he loves experiencing firsthand the diversity that the Capital District has to offer.

“I really enjoy the ethnic quilt of this region,” he said. “Days like today allow people to display their heritage. Heritage defines, nurtures and sustains our society.”

The congressman added that he was looking forward to trying a bratwurst.

Kurt Engler, a member of the club, said he truly cherishes such days, when he can spend time with friends and family.

“These days are about camaraderie,” he said. “A multigenerational camaraderie where people can come together and have fun in the same place.”

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