GermanFest Returns To Toms Brook

Posted: September 12, 2013

TOMS BROOK — Break out the beer steins, because the GermanFest is back.

After a one-year hiatus because of a lack of volunteers, the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum in Toms Brook will host its third GermanFest on Saturday. Festival spokeswoman and museum board member Shelly Good-Cook said the festival features new entertainment this year. About 1,500 people are expected to come.

The GermanFest will include good-old-fashioned heritage food — and, of course, beer — but there will also be many shows and exhibits about Southern history, and how Valley Germans were involved. Other highlights include a long-rifle display, a Confederate Civil War doctor re-enactment, and many local crafts and demonstrations.

Good-Cook is a direct descendant of George Hottle, whose homestead in Toms Brook has become a Germanic history museum. The point of the festival, she said, is to show the importance of German heritage in the Shenandoah County and the surrounding valley.

“More than a quarter of people in Shenandoah County can trace their roots back to Germanic heritage,” she said.

German influence in the valley dates back centuries, even before the Revolutionary War, and much of the battle of Toms Brook was fought on the Hottle homestead, Good-Cook said.

The fee to park on museum grounds is $5, but admission to the festival is free. Proceeds from the event will benefit the museum.

“We wanted to make sure it was a really good value,” Good-Cook said.

Entertainment will include German bands and Alpine dancers. Seating is limited, so Good-Cook recommends people bring their own chairs if they can.

During the festival’s second year, about 1,200 people came even though it rained, Good-Cook said. This year, they’re hoping for good weather and an even larger crowd.

“We’re hoping this will be our Goldilocks year,” she said.
If You Go:

The third GermanFestival at the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum, 11523 Back Road, Toms Brook, will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Parking is $5; admission is free.
Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or

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