Chaffee holds 24th annual German Days celebration

Sunday, August 8, 2004

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The days of German costumes, music and food are gone, but the name has remained.

"Not much has changed over the years," said Tom Cunningham, chairman of German Days Inc. and who has been involved with Chaffee German Days for the last 12 years.

There are always food booths, crafts and games for the children. Each year usually finds something new added, like this year's sumo wrestling attraction.

Similar celebrations had been held in Chaffee before the official German Days began. Arlie and Bonnie Rister belonged to a local citizens-band radio club in the mid-1970s.

"The club began growing and we started to have meetings and signing up members," Arlie Rister said. The Risters were in charge of activities, which included hay rides, skating events and picnics. In 1980, to honor Chaffee's diamond jubilee anniversary, it was decided a town-wide celebration would be held. The two-day event was called German Days because of the many German immigrants who had settled in the area.

A softball tournament, horseshoe tournament, washer tournament, kiddie tractor pull and dance along with various game and food booths were on Saturday's list of events.

The main attraction for Saturday afternoon was a karoake contest.

Autumn Vandeven and Anna Ayers captured first and second respectively in the 8-14 age group. Both girls chose the selection "Suds in a Bucket." Drew McClellan and Logan Bollinger teamed up for a second-place finish in the 15-20 age category with their rendition of "Save a Horse." First place went to Ginny Hahn, who sang "Daddy's Hands." The 21 and up group saw the most contestants. Michelle Holman won first place with "Redneck Woman," and Bryant Steel placed second with "Kentucky Rain."

Two-year-old Emily Wiseman was named Little Miss German Days at Friday's pageant for the second year in a row. "I was out of town and tried to make it back in time but couldn't," said her father, Joe Wiseman, "but my wife taped it and I got to see it that way."

Cunningham attributes the event's success to lots of help. "We spend two to three days getting everything set up and spend all day Sunday cleaning up," he said.

Plans are already underway for the 2005 German Days, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the event.

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