Virtual Maifest Press Release
Contact: Laura Engel, Director of Marketing and Events
Address: 4740 N. Western Ave. | Chicago, IL 60625
DANK Haus and Local Partners Celebrate Inaugural Virtual Maifest
Chicago, IL — May 20, 2020 — For centuries, certain regions in Germany have marked the coming of spring with a Maibaum, or a Maypole, decorated with handmade trinkets and wrapped in ribbons. With the large waves of German immigrants to the Midwest, the tradition caught fire in Chicago. In fact, there is a multi-story tall Maypole just outside the Western Brown Line station donated by our sister city, Hamburg Germany.
This year, the arrival of spring weather was not headline news. The COVID-19 shutdown has dominated our thoughts and canceled events like concerts, graduations, and the beloved Maifest Chicago street festival held annually in Lincoln Square. The DANK Haus in Lincoln Square is presenting an alternative to celebrate the arrival of spring, and symbolically raise hope for the upcoming rebirth of our city’s public life. Virtual Maifest, held on the weekend of Friday, May 29 through Sunday, May 31, will offer food, prizes, and virtual performances and presentations.
Among the highlights of the planned events are: cooking classes with Himmel’s restaurant, a live-streamed beer stein holding contest, and a conversation with German Consul General Mössinger about his family’s life of travel as an ambassador of Germany.
While the event will not have the crowds of past years, the DANK Haus will still serve Bratwurst and beer for guests to pick up at the building, all while staying in their cars to minimize contact.
Guests can purchase an all access “Virtual Wristband” that will allow them to enjoy over 12 hours of online programming. Guests may select specific events to attend or can stay logged in for the entire event spanning the course of three days. In addition to the programming, guests will be able to purchase meals a la carte on the organization’s website. Curbside pick up will include the exact menu that has been served for decades at the festival, including Bienenstich (an almond encrusted cake filled with custard, commonly known as bee sting cake), pretzels, landjäger (German beef jerky) potato salad, sauerkraut, Leberkäse (German meatloaf) and fest-favorites, Bratwurst and Thuringer sausages.
The event comes together as the community organization starts to recover from major financial losses due to event cancellations caused by the virus pandemic.
“For decades the DANK Haus has been a preferred vendor at Maifest Chicago. Our organization has benefited from the help of over 300 volunteers that work 500 shifts during the four day festival to sell food and beverages to the festival goers. It is our number one fundraising event for the year,” states Dagmar Freiberger, DANK Haus Board President.
“Virtual Maifest will not recoup the estimated $75,000 in losses from the cancelation of this year’s event, but it will allow everyone to celebrate the coming of spring and our uniquely German American traditions of Maifest Chicago. We hope that with the event going online, we can spread our German American culture to anyone that wants to join, from anywhere in the world!” says Monica Jirak, Executive Director of the DANK Haus.
The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is located at 4740 N. Western Avenue in the heart of the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. The cultural center is a cornerstone for German American culture and the community at large. Now that the event is virtual, guests from around the world will be able attend the celebration! Purchase of virtual wristbands, food and beverage will be online at www.dankhaus.com/maifest2020
Date: Friday, May 29, 2020 through Sunday, May 31, 2020
Locations: Virtual Event held on Zoom
About the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center
The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization committed to preserving and promoting German and German American culture, heritage, and language through maintaining a language school, museum, library, art gallery, and through educational and social programming. It is located in Chicago's historically German neighborhood, Lincoln Square. Core programming includes a German Language School for children and adults, rotating Fine Arts and Museum exhibits, monthly Open Haus, Kulturküche Cooking Classes, Kino, Kaffee und Kuchen, Public Event Viewing Parties, Oktoberfest and more. The DANK Haus is a core member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance – a consortium of ethnic museums, cultural centers and historical societies whose mission is to effect social change through cultural diversity