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Successful Germanfest to build additional home in 2017

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 The 31st year of West Bend Germanfest drew an estimated 12,500 people to downtown West Bend during the last weekend of August for non-stop music, dancing, games, German food and drink.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties led Germanfest for the first time, and over 50 sponsors partnered with the non-profit, including Andrew Mortenson of Thrivent Financial as its Presenting Sponsor.


The assistance of over 175 volunteers was also instrumental in allowing this cherished ethnic festival to continue with the well-known housing organization’s hands now at the reins. With the goal of helping fund an additional home, West Bend Germanfest raised approximately $41,000, thereby making it possible for Habitat to grow from building three houses this year to four in 2017. The financial support, goods and services donated from the local community enabled the event to help fulfill Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building safe and affordable housing for deserving families in need.

“Our goal was to raise enough money through Germanfest to build a home for someone in our community in need. We are grateful to the community for their support, and grateful to all of the volunteers who put in countless hours to make this event a success,” said Andrew Mortenson, Board President for the Habitat affiliate.  “We look forward to making 2017 even better.”

Mortenson said the vision for Germanfest was accomplished with raising awareness of Habitat for Humanity and creating a fun, family-friendly event where the community can come together to celebrate.

Three additional major sponsors made the celebration of German music and traditions possible including Germantown Iron and Steel in Jackson, Hankerson’s Country Oven Bakery of West Bend, and The Norbert Bar and Kitchen in West Bend.

Russ Wanta, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties said, “We are blessed that so many businesses believe in Habitat for Humanity’s mission of repairing and providing housing for local families in need.”

“A dozen Germanfest Committee members contributed an untold number of hours of their time over many months of planning to bring the festival into being,” said Steve Tennies, West Bend Germanfest Project Manager. “In addition, Habitat staff went above and beyond the call of duty both before and during the run of the event. A heartfelt ‘Danke schoen’ to all.”

Planning has already begun for West Bend Germanfest 2017.  

Financial contributions are accepted at any time, and those who would like to join in as a Germanfest sponsor or volunteer can visit westbendgermanfest.com or call (262) 208-4737 to contact Habitat for Humanity about their interest.

About West Bend Germanfest:

West Bend Germanfest (westbendgermanfest.com), will again be under the direction of Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties for the second year on August 24-27, 2017, at the corner of S 5th Ave. and Walnut Street in downtown West Bend. West Bend Germanfest will simultaneously be digging deep into the authentic German heritage of our region and also celebrating the grass roots quality of the Habitat mission: to bring the community together with the purpose of eradicating substandard housing. The goal is to raise enough money to build an entire Habitat home, as this ethnic and music festival is expected to again attract more than 10,000 devoted revelers from near and far. There will be award-winning polka and other bands, an expanded selection of beers, a special wine area, delectable German food and desserts, a Kinderzone for families with small children, lots of Schafskopf, and much, much more.

About Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties, WI:

Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties, WI is an Ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to the elimination of sub-standard housing in Washington and Dodge Counties and the World. We work in partnership with God and people in need by building houses so that there are decent homes in decent communities in which every person can experience God’s love and can live and grow into all that God intends. Habitat is a hand-up organization, not a hand out. All of our partnering families are required to pay Habitat back for the work that is done. The agreement with our families is based on Old Testament scripture where God makes it clear to his followers that when dealing with the poor, you must follow these principles – provide no-interest loans, reduce cost by putting your faith into action, make no profit and give those in need ample time to repay.

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