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Alpenfest facts for kids

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The Alpenfest is an annual celebration in Gaylord, Michigan. For over 50 years the Alpenfest has been a tradition for the townspeople and its visitors. It is held the third week of July.

The History of Alpenfest

In the early 1960s Gaylord, which is the county seat of Otsego County, was in the process of changing the town's image to that of the Alpine look. This change was hastened by the decision of U.S. Plywood to build a particle board plant in Gaylord. The process used to manufacture particle board was developed and patented by a Swiss businessman, Fred Fahrni. The new plant meant employment for many in the area and also opened the door for a big market in the county for aspen and pine, from which the “Novaply” was processed. Opening day for the festival set for July 5, 1965, and it was to run through July 10. Residents sewed their own dirndl's and men's alpine vests. The original event was called The Alpine Festival. It is now shortened to Alpenfest but is still celebrated as one of Gaylord's biggest events each summer.

With 2020 being cancelled caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 56th was deferred To 2021.


The 56th Annual Alpenfest will be held on 14–18 July 2021, as 2020 was cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic was to blame. Festivities include arts and crafts on display and for sale, parades, concerts and stage shows, and tasty traditional foods. Kid's games, also amusement rides and family entertainment are also a part of the festival. The event that occurs after the official opening of Alpenfest is the Burning of the Boogg. It is a symbolical ceremony where wooden snowman of cotton wool is filled with the troubles and worries of the residents of the Alpine Village. The Boogg is then ignited and everyone's troubles go up in smoke and residents are free to celebrate Alpenfest. Other events include lampion making, a yodeling contest, swiss stone spitting contest, the walking parade, Die Groeste Kaffepause (World's Largest Coffee Break), ladies' ankle contest, men's knee contest and many more.

Queen's Pageant

Each year, young women between the ages of 16 - 22 compete for the title of Alpenfest Queen. The candidates are judged by mystery judges throughout the week of Alpenfest, as well as at the Queen's Pageant where they present an introduction, talent, evening gown and impromptu question. The selected Alpenfest Queen and her Court travel the state of Michigan throughout the following year of their reign and promote Alpenfest and Gaylord.

Year Name
1965 Connie (Wolf) Eiland
1966 Sally (Drinkert) Glasser
1967 Sandy (Heska) King
1968 Linda (Berquist) Slaggert
1969 Barbara Wolf
1970 Elizabeth (Halter) O'Brien
1971 Lori (Stehman) Creedle
1972 Gayle (Wegmeyer) Barker
1973 Leonora Walchak
1974 Jean (Snook) Thomas
1975 Kris (Church) Emqus
1976 Julie (Bowers) Dasinger
1977 Deni (Kujat) Mahlmeister
1978 Marlene (Polus) Bailey
1979 Cheryl (Nephew) Jaquiss
1980 Kellie (Johnson) Puroll
1981 Carole (Coon) Ullrich
1982 Pam (Johnson) Morgridge
1983 Kimberlee Broome
1984 Sandy (Grisso) Tagawa
1985 Laurie (Borowiak) Zaremba
1986 Catherine Potter
1987 Diana Petoskey
1988 Jeanne Fedorowicz
1989 Tammy (Klee) Bush
1990 Rochelle Mitchell
1991 Gigi (Lochinski) Mitias
1992, 1993 Betsy (Gilmore) Neph
1994 Erin (Murphy) Whipple
1995, 1996 Carrie (Clark) Sharpe
1997 Linda (Slivinski) Weiss
1998 Cimberly Hickerson
1999 Melissa (Wishart) Olds
2000 Molly Gapinski
2001 Christina Wishart
2002 Jennifer (Fain) Murphey
2003 Diana Scott
2004 Sarah (Smith) Inendino
2005 Cassandra Cope
2006 Terra Noirot
2007 Sam Dunn
2008 Leah Rolinski
2009 Heather Knouse
2010 Rachel Bartow-Freeman
2011 Stephanie LaRouche
2012 Shannon O'Connor
2013 Analiese Puzon
2014 Lauren Olivia Bushong
2015 Courtney Hough
2016 Kelly Furget
2017 Giorgi Nowicki
2018 Abby Rajala
2019 Chanelle Beach

Burning of the Böögg history

In Zürich, Switzerland they create a snowman out of wood and fill the head with fireworks. In April they light the snowman on fire. People in Zurich say, "the faster the head explodes, the warmer or better summer will be." In Zurich, the burning of the Böögg is to be the transition from winter to spring. In Gaylord however, they inherited the tradition from Switzerland, but changed the meaning to better suit Gaylord. In Gaylord, their snowmen are made of cotton wool, and instead of it being the transition of seasons, people write their worries and problems down on a piece of paper and they place the paper inside the snowman. After that they light the snowman on fire and all worries and problems are supposed to disappear with the snowman.

Other attractions in Gaylord

Gaylord has many other attractions that should be interesting such as Elk Park. At Elk Park, visitors can watch the deer and elk in their natural habitat, and they could feed them.

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