Newspaper Articles from Täglicher Buffalo Demokrat und Weltbürger [the Daily Buffalo Democrat and World Citizen of Buffalo, N.Y.] and the Syracuse Union from Syracuse, N.Y. in celebration of Summer.

Täglicher Buffalo Demokrat und Weltbürger, Wednesday, June 20, 1855 - Page 3, middle; column 3

The St. John's Festival!

The German Young Men's Association

invites the distinguished public to this year's St. John's Festival on

Monday, June 25th

The festive locale of Mr. J. Westphal has once again been chosen with its most beautiful

St. John's Grove

(Westphal's Garden)

The Turn Verein [Gymnastics Club] has provided its most valuable cooperation in bringing about this festival - and they will be there in full number to participate in the events.


   1. At 12 o'clock the Turn Verein opens with a musical chorus and march along Genesee, Michigan, Batavia [Broadway] and Main Streets to the festival location, gathering up a large number of the guests as they go. They'll be followed by the large and the small, the young and the old, taking part in this happy spring festival.
   2. At 2 PM the festival begins with songs performed by the chorus of the Turn Verein. The welcoming address has been composed by F.J. Egenter, who will deliver it.
   3. At 2:30 a gymnastics demonstration by the members of the Turn Verein.
   4. Folk-games for boys and girls: sack races, stick bird tossing, rope tugs of war, races, spin the plank, etc., etc.
   5. At 4 PM the members of the Turn Verein will perform "Bajazzo" on a stage created just for the occasion. Songs before and after.
   6.Continuation of the games.
   7. At 5 PM (back by popular demand) - The Festively Grotesque/Comic Parade of the King of Humbug through the entire festival grounds.
   8. At 6 PM a gymnastics tournament by the students of the Turn Verein and the awarding of prizes to the victors.
   9. At 7 PM continuation of the gymnastics demonstations and the games.
   10. "Bajazzo and the Thousand Embarassments", Part 2 of "Bajazzo among the Robbers". Singing before and after the performances.
   11. At 9 PM - Fireworks.
   12. Dancing in the brightly lit open-air dancehall.
Messrs. Westphal, Spann and Derr, who have taken over the management of the inn on the grounds, wish to announce to all that they will do all they can to satisfy the modest needs of the public.
The festival closes at 10PM.
The Association will try to make the St. John's Festival, which is an enjoyable experience for all participants, a folk festival in the truest sense of the word.

Admission is 50 cents for men; women and children are free. Tickets will be available from June 18th on and can be purchased from the committee members. The program will come later.
                                    Carl de Haas, President
Geo. Getthöfer, Secretary

Täglicher Buffalo Demokrat und Weltbürger, Saturday, June 30, 1855 - Page 2, top; column 1

Buffalo Democrat

Editor: Carl de Haas

Saturday, June 30th


The St. John's Festival

As far as we could determine, everyone was happy. It was yet another beautiful slice of German life and a wonderful remembrance of the old beloved fatherland. At 1 o'clock the assembled army of our ever-active Turners [gymnasts] returned with banners held high; at the head of the parade there was a veritable chorus of drummers, also Turners, under the direction of Messrs. Schulz and Schugen, who led the band. The festival location began to fill up and all impatiently awaited the arrival of the Turners, whose music one heard resounding in the distance about 2 o'clock. The Turners' singing chorus began its performance at 2:30 with a pleasant song composed by Mr. Egenter for the occasion. Written copies of the song were distributed to the audience. Mr. Baethig gave the festival address, which was short and to the point and received enthusiastic applause.

From then on gymnastics exercises, games, dances, theatrical presentations and comic parodies alternated in colorful succession; overall, people saw life and joy and the field of accomplishments reflected every segment of the society. Girls amused themselves by tossing the stick bird and carried away various prizes in triumph to their happy parents; a half-dozen boys, submerged in sacks up to their shoulders, competed to see who could reach the finish line first; in another location a number of lads competed to see who, after many vain attempts, could climb up to the top of the greased pole.

The Turners performed extraordinary feats and contributed much to the amusement of the public. The 30-man pyramid built by the Turners aroused enthusiastic applause. The gymnastics students' competition was well received. The following young gymnasts received prizes:
Roth, Kerner, Seib, D. Schultz, Rippel, F. Schulz, Gillig, Haberstroh, Reinecke, Bensino and Wesch.

The pantomine drew in a large audience and put it in the happiest of moods. Mr. Meyer is a master organizing such theatrical performances. The open-air theater was beautifully decorated. The parody was enormously successful and received well-deserved praise; Mr. M. as King Humbug richly deserved his pretzel crown. The fireworks couldn't have been more diverse; the committee in charge of the timing of the firings deserves praise.

The musical chorus under the direction of Mr. Schugen pleased the dancers and the music-lovers alike; the hard work and effort that went into this reflects favorably back on the scheduling committee.

Mr. Westphal tastefully decorated his house on the inside and out and his new carousel garnered high praise from its young riders.

The lighting, executed by Mr. Westphal, was tasteful and bright. Lager beer was consumed in extraordinarily large quantities and we have been assured that the quality of this noble barley brew was nothing to sneeze at. The service rendered by the waiters left no wish unfulfilled and we heard no complaints in this regard. We close our report with the following lines from a long article written in yesterday's Republic, whose local editor, Mr. Faxon, covered the festival with the greatest interest:
"The festival was organized in a wonderful manner by the committee and not a single difficulty got in the way of the day. It was in all respects a wonderful event. The German Young Men's Association can be proud of its festival and from the satisfied faces of young and old we can conclude that it was so for all. The festivals organized by the German people deserve to be imitated. There we find no dry formality, fearful tentativeness or quiet reserve with which other nationalities are characterized - everything is open and friendly, every face wears a smile and every hand extends a warm greeting. The Germans come to the festival locale with the intention of enjoying themselves and they succeed. Yesterday's festival will remain in our thoughts as one of the most welcome diversions ever to take place in this area."

Syracuse Union, September 2, 1920, p.8

Goethe and the Banned St. John's Eve Bonfire

The ban against the St. John's Eve Bonfire by the Jena Police Department brings to mind a similar ban instituted during Goethe's time. More than a hundred years ago during the time of the French occupation, the bonfire was also banned. A group of disappointed youths went to Goethe, highly favored by the regime at the time, and asked for his assistance. And Goethe helped. A few days later an official decree appeared in the newspaper announcing the lifting of the ban. Underneath the announcement (and not official) stood the following verse by Goethe:

               May St. John's Bonfire no longer be banned,
               It's ceremony never forgotten!
               Brooms always need to be replaced,
               And young boys forever begotten.

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks