This past weekend on May 9th & 10th, those who visited Leavenworth, WA were welcomed by German-style music, dance, parade and costume in celebration of the arrival of spring. The German holiday of Maifest is celebrated in Leavenworth with live German music, a Festzug (small parade), traditional German dances including the Maibaum (maypole) Dance, and additional fun for the kids with a German medieval knights demonstration, longsword battle, and trebuchet tossing, plus a climbing wall and several bouncy houses.
Crowds lined both sides of Front St in downtown Leavenworth on Saturday and Sunday by noon and when the alpenhorn was heard, the Festzug began.
The Festzup was complete with traditional German costume, marching bands, floats, horse-drawn wagons…,
…goats and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Men & women dressed in traditional German outfits performed a range of dances that included twirling dresses and lifts, to coordinated slaps and high kicks, as well as an annual favorite, the Maibaum (maypole) Dance.
Another dance that was traditionally performed by Miners involved 4 men, lanterns, hammers, and large iron stakes that were struck and played like instruments.
During the Maibaum Dance, men and women dancers systematically weave different colored ribbons around a 30-foot blue and white checkered pole creating intricate patterns, then dance in reverse freeing the weave, and repeat this process several times. It’s quite intriguing to watch as the patterns are constructed and deconstructed in perfect order.
Maifest occurs every year in Leavenworth, WA in early to mid-May and it’s a great festival the whole family can enjoy. With warm sunny days, beautiful views of surrounding mountains, budding fruit trees and blooming wildflowers, European-themed architecture, and vibrant hanging flower baskets on every corner, it’s the perfect way to welcome spring. Don’t forget your Lederhosen and Dirndl!