This October, the German Society will again play a large role in hosting Philadelphia's German-American Day celebration.  

Many of you may remember the observation of the German-American Tricentennial in 1983 when Philadelphia's academic, cultural, historical and business community collaborated and offered a great variety of programs and events to commemorate the many contributions made by German-Americans over the years.

That celebration recognized the more than 8 million immigrants from German-speaking countries who have come to America since the first settlers from Krefeld, Germany, set foot on these shores and established their homestead in nearby Germantown, now part of Philadelphia proper.  In the mid-18th century, Germans, at one point, represented nearly half of Philadelphia's population, and this was considered a "challenge" by Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of our country.  At the last nationwide census, still more than 20 percent of the US citizens claimed German ancestry.

Following President Reagan's 1983 proclamation of October 6 as German-American Day, the Mayor of Philadelphia has held a commemorative reception at City Hall each year, and will do so again this year.  Interestingly, all other festivities celebratin October 6 slipped into oblivion.  Why do German-Americans, one might ask, keep such a low profile?

Look at the Irish-Americans who have St. Patrick's Day, or the Italian-Americans who celebrate Columbus Day - with much merrymaking to be seen and heard.  Therefore, let's show all the residents of the Delaware Valley and visitors to our historic city that we can have fun, too!  Particularly, since the 325th anniversary is just around the corner.

Last fall, in anticipation of this year's jubilee, our Society and its facilities were the focal point for the three-day festival which drew over 1,000 people to our premises.

What we have lined up for this year promises to appeal to young and old alike, Germans and non-Germans, who want to savor our culture and history.  Our ongoing events include an historic play, a four-part PBS documentary, a fundraising walk-a-thon, an historical symposium, a Volkslieder sing-along, a dance performance, a concert featuring medieval music, an Oktoberfest Street Festival, and two performances by a 100-piece orchestra coming from the Palatine region of Germany.

And not to worry, for dining throughout this long weekend there will be German bratwursts, sauerkraut, rolls, and pretzels with plenty of beer, wine and sodas from the vast selection of our Ratskeller.

The proposed schedule is as follows:  (Please note that dates and/or times may need to be adjusted as plans progress.)

Wednesday, October 1 Time Cost
"Ben and the Germans"
     An historic play developed and performed by area high school students about
     the competition between Ben Franklin and Christoph Sauer
1:00pm $10 per person
Includes lunch, two workshops, and the play
Early German-American History Symposium
     Lectures include: The First Germans in America, Pennsylvania's Immigrant
     Recruitment in Germany, The Life of German-Americans in the late 18th
     Century, and The Contributions of the Muehlenberg Family
3:00-6:00pm Good Will Donations
Thursday, October 2
Film Presentation, "Germans in America"
     Part 1: "Into the Promised Land"
     Part 2: "The Price of Freedom"

Good Will Donations
Friday, October 3
Dedication of German Immigration Mural 10:00am Free
Mayor's Reception at City Hall 12:00 noon Free, limited seating
Songs of the Minnesingers and Instrumental Dances concert 3:00pm $10
Film Presentation, "Germans in America"
     Part 3: "Little Germanies"
     Part 4: "A People Disappears"

Good Will Donations
Saturday, October 4
5K and 10K Walk with the Liberty Bell Wanderers Beginning at 9:00am In support of German Heritage Center in DC
Oktoberfest Beginning at 11:00am Modest prices for food and drink
Group Motion Modern Dance Performance Directed by Manfred Fischbeck 7:00pm $10 kids 18 and under, $15 students and seniors, $20 adults
Sunday, October 5
German Church Service at Old Zion Lutheran Church 10:00am Free (628 North Broad Street in Philadelphia)
Ecumenical Church Serivce at Immanuel Lutheran Church 11:00am Free (1400 Worthington Road in Philadelphia)
Landesjugendorchester Rheinland-Pfalz performance
     Selections by Elgar, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn
3:00pm $20
Monday, October 6
Dedication of Historical Marker 10:00am Free
     Play performed by the KRESCHtheater Company from Krefeld, Germany
2:30pm $10
Sing-along of German Volkslieder 4:00pm Free
Landesjugendorchester Rheinland-Pfalz performance
     Selections by Barber, Elgar, and Mendelssohn
7:00pm $20
Ongoing Weekend Events
Open House Gartenfest 10/3 - 10/6 Serving bratwurst, pretzels, sauerkraut and other German fare
Book Sale 10/3 - 10/6
All events are at the German Society unless otherwise noted.
Free parking in our lot adjacent to our building on Spring Garden Street

For more information for any of these events, please call or email the German Society.

We welcome all volunteers who wish to help with this packed week of events!

While the majority of the events are being held at the German Society, there are other activities happening around the city.  Information on those events can be found at


Calendar of Events

German Society of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA  19123
(P) 215-627-2332
(F) 215-627-5297
info at germansociety dot org