Festival brings taste of Germany to Chaffee

Alex Martin performs traditional German music Saturday during Chaffee German Days at Frisco Park in Chaffee, Missouri.
Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian

CHAFFEE, Mo. — Monitoring homemade bratwursts and burgers on his grill Saturday during German Days in Chaffee, “The German Cook” Christian Voigt said with a big smile, “This is festival season.”

It was the end of Chaffee’s two-day annual festival featuring carnival rides, beer and authentic German fare in Frisco Park. Tim Cannon said German Days began nearly 40 years ago through the efforts of the Chaffee Chamber of Commerce.

“They wanted a festival because everyone around here had a festival except Chaffee,” Cannon said. “There are so many German people around here.”

Cannon serves as director for Chaffee’s largest German band, Diefluss Katzen. The band includes mainly active or retired high school band teachers, including Southeast Missouri State University’s professor of trumpets Kevin Tague, Cannon said.

When the festival began, it featured several German-themed events, Cannon said, including an authentic German band from Waterloo, Illinois. But because of cost, more emphasis was placed on booking local talent.

Becki Scheeter and Leroy Eftink — Classy Chassy Country — were the on-stage duo Saturday adding their unique sound to the day’s soundtrack, with classic tunes such as “At the Hop” and “Monster Mash.”

Aaron Horrell and Barb Bailey — local collaborative artists known for hosting Paint for a Cause events — and a large canvas depicting a violin also were part of the festival. It was one of numerous stops on a two-year Missouri Bicentennial Paint-for-a-Cause tour featuring Missouri symbols.

When completed, the 16-panel, 30-foot mural will feature symbols represented by objects identified by individuals or organizations within Southeast Missouri. Volunteers across 20 cities will paint or “color in” those designated images in the coming months.

As of Saturday afternoon, Bailey said 30 people had contributed to the mural since Friday.

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