Celebrate Austrian culture at the Fraze
By Stacey Ritz
Photo: Jake Browning and Juan Delgado (right) enjoy a beer in their liederhosen during Spass Nacht; photo credit: Sarah Browning
Spass Nacht literally means “fun night.” “There will be dancing and authentic Austrian/Bavarian music by PROST. Come out and join the fun! There will be brats, sauerkraut, hot dogs, baked goods galore, pretzels … and beverages!” said Bob Van Leeuwen, Kettering Sister City Executive Committee member. Domestic and imported beers will be available, as well as non-alcoholic drinks. A free event open to the public, Spass Nacht will be held at the Fraze Pavilion Wednesday, June 19, from 5:30–9:30 p.m. The Austrian festival is presented by the Kettering Sister City Association. The event has taken place for more than 33 years, with great success in the Dayton area.
“We always have good feedback.” Van Leeuwen added. “It’s always a good time, positive experience … a great time! I am most looking forward to sunshine and the very large crowd.” The event expects to draw 1,200-1,500 people.
Executive Committee Chairperson Paul Fleitz explained, “Our motto is ‘Fun with Family and Friends.’ The event is a great opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. Many folks enjoy dancing to the music or just watching others.” As the annual fundraiser for the Kettering Sister City Association, co-chair Andrew Rathweg added, “The Kettering City Council established the Kettering Sister City Committee on March 28, 1967. Our mission is to build people-to-people relationships, based on youth and adult exchange visits, and social and cultural gatherings. The Kettering Sister Cities Committee is part of Sister Cities International, formerly known as the Town Affiliation Association of the U.S., Inc. President Dwight D. Eisenhower initiated the program in 1957. Its purpose is to help further international understanding at all levels of the community on a continuing long-term basis through cultural, educational, professional and technical exchanges. The city of Kettering has two sister city affiliations. Our relationship with Steyr, Austria, was established by city ordinance in March 1970, and our relationship with the Borough of Kettering, England, in February, 1978.”
The Kettering Sister City student exchange with Steyr, Austria, started in 1977. Fleitz commented, “This July, 10 Austrian high school students and their chaperones will visit Kettering and stay with host families. While here, they will enjoy participating in local activities and experience what it is like to be a teenager in Kettering, Ohio. Next year, our students will travel to Steyr, Austria, and stay with families of the students visiting us this year. Lasting friendships have been established through this exchange.”
Spass Nacht welcomes back a live performance by PROST, who will be returning to the event for the first time since 2006. Back by popular demand, PROST is a self-described Euro-American “party band.”
Rathweg explained, “Spass Nacht is like Oktoberfest in the summer. It’s a great way to spend a beautiful June evening … the event continues to gain popularity each year. With the return of PROST, it is going to be a lot of fun – they know how to keep the party going!” Live music will begin at 6 p.m. PROST provides a variety of energetic music, setting the tone of the party. PROST has both American and European band members and they are a regular act at the Hofbrau Haus in Newport, Ky. Band members Michael, Lee, Chad and Terry Duncan along with Gerhard Albinus, Carly Hood and Joe Blank invite you to come out and enjoy the music and ride the “PROST-Coaster.”
The band shared, “The accordion and a driving beat are the cornerstone of our sound and our vast song list includes many new and old German songs, as well as pop/rock, country, swing and other varieties of ethnic music.” Fleitz added, “PROST has a strong and loyal following in southwest Ohio.” If you enjoy live music while surrounded by friends and family, you don’t want to miss PROST’s performance at Spass Nacht.
All of the authentic food and drinks will be prepared and sold by volunteers to raise much needed funds for the exchange program. In addition to live music, authentic Austrian/German food and drinks, a 50/50 raffle along with balloon animals and face painting for children, while attending Spass Nacht you will enjoy dancing and meeting new people. Come out and enjoy a “fun night” while supporting a great program.
Fleitz recalled one of his favorite memories from the event, “One year the winner of the 50/50 raffle donated the money they won to the organization because he believed in our mission. It is great to see how many volunteers come together to support this worthwhile cause. Many of the volunteers come back year after year because they have personally seen the positive results of our student exchange.”
Spass Nacht will take place Wednesday, June 19, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd. in Kettering. Admission to the event is free of charge. For more information, visit fraze.com/spass-nacht.
Reach DCP freelance writer Stacey Ritz at StaceyRitz@DaytonCityPaper.com.