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Amana Colonies Festivals Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Historical Organizations

Mission: Promoting and educating of the local heritage and culture of the historic amana colonies.

Programs: Maifest activities that promote an educational value to the public are many. There is a communal dinner and historical experience held as the amana colonies were a communal lifestyle from 1855 until 1932. Thus, the dinner is reminiscent of how meals were served during that period in the communal kitchens. The maipole dancers display the traditional maipole dancing that is done in germany and the amana colonies during the maifest celebrations. Traditional german dirndls and lederhosen are worn by the dancers and accordionist and many businesses throughout. The world on wheels food truck fare is held featuring ethnic cuisine along with the arts in the barn entertainment that features music, dance, and art of several diverse cultures. There are tradition and ethnic german foods that have been served throughout the years in the amana colonies. Traditional german polka music is played throughout the village of amana. Other activities are tours of iowa's only working woolen mill and through the amana furniture shop to learn about how the amana furniture is handcrafted one piece at a time. There is a wine/beer walk throughout town where people can sample wine and beer from some of the country's oldest wineries and brewery. Tours of the facilities are given. An oktoberfest activity promotes an educational value to the public. The oktoberfest celebration in germany spans over several weeks long, ours is throughout a weekend. Traditional german dirndls and lederhosen are worn by many of the merchants in the amana colonies throughout the 3 day festival. Traditional polka bands are brought in from all over the country to play throughout the festival. One of our 150 year old barns is host to our main oktoberfest grounds and is also used throughout the year on a weekly basis. This is our prized festhalle barn and is where many of the polka bands preform. Traditional german brats made by our local meat market are served throughout the festival. We have a burgermeister (town mayor), which is traditional in every german village. He opens up our festival, leads the parade and leads many other activities throughout the weekend. Once again we hold the traditional communal dinner and tours of many of our historical buildings and businesses in the amana colonies. Prelude to christmas activities promotes an educational value to the public. Prelude to christmas is held during the month of december throughout the amana colonies. At our festhalle barn we host a tannenbaum forest. Tannenbaum means christmas tree in german. Every business decorates a tree, we display a nativity scene, santa visits every weekend and we have several amana colonies stations on display that shows how christmas was celebrated in the past years. The tannenbaum forest is a free will donation and we donate a large portion of the proceeds to the university of iowa stead family childrens hospital. So this event is a charitable event along with an educational event. For the educational portion the stations displays a leuchter, which is a chandelier type light made in 1857- 1895 and was hung over tables and was remnant of the advent wreaths in the churches in germany. A tree is decorated with only historical amana colonies christmas ornaments. A slideshow on the computer shows old photos of christmas past in the amana colonies. The photos were primarily taken in 1920 - 1930's as the amana colonies religious beliefs felt photography was a worldly practice and was not allowed. A stocdkbaum pole tree and christmas pyramid are displayed. These are the traditional christmas trees used in our history. Several other types of historical displays can be viewed throughout the tannenbaum forest, these are examples of just a few. During the prelude to christmas weekend the amana heritage museum is open to the public tor free so people can visit and learn more about our communities' history. They host story telling sessions of christmas past. Six amana homes are also open to the public for a christmas house tour. People are welcome to visit and see the inside of these 150 year old homes.

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