Germanfest, Cajun Fest cancelled due to COVID-19

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With Germanfest and Cajun Fest canceled, both festival organizers sought alternatives for events that are big fall draws in Madison County. 

“Missing the Germanfest today,” Madison’s Suzanne Renfrow posted on the Gluckstadt Germanfest Facebook page on Sept. 27,  the day the 34th annual festival was scheduled. “Would have been a great day for our community!”

Bill Stoltzfus of Madison agreed. “I said this a few times today as well. Can’t wait until Germanfest 2021,” he posted.

The annual event put on by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was canceled in August with organizer Kerry Minninger saying that “after much prayerful consideration, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel Germanfest this year.”

“Due to uncertainties surrounding the COVID pandemic, the escalating numbers of illness, and the necessity of close and sustained contact during preparations, as well as the need to protect our parishioners and our visitors, we feel it is the best decision we can make at this time,” he announced on the page.

The possibility of a takeout Bratwurst dinner sometime around the first of the year is being considered “if pandemic restrictions allow,” said Pam Minninger, lay ecclesial minister at St. Joseph in Gluckstadt. 

“Normally we have a German band with German dancing along with home-cooked food, which includes homemade Bratwurst with sauerkraut, jams, and jellies,” she said. “We also have a Beerstein holding contest.”

Minninger said it’s incredibly disappointing that the festival was cancelled this year. 

“It’s a lot of hard work to put it on, and people plan their autumn activities around this,” she said. “We’ll be able to start meeting again in May of next year to plan for the next festival and we’ll be looking to see what we can do to get it kicked off.”

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church’s main event Cajun Fest is held annually every May. Due to COVID-19, it was called off, and in place of it St. Francis held a live online drawing of their annual raffle that’s associated with Cajun Fest. 

St. Francis pastor, Fr. Albeenreddy Vatti, said the church chose Oct. 4 specifically because it’s the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  

“Annually, we celebrate this day with an event, the Taste of St. Francis,” he said. “It’s a time we can gather and celebrate the many cultures that make up our parish with great food and music. Unfortunately, we had to cancel that event this year as well due to COVID.”

Vatti said the cancelation of Cajun Fest this year was a major loss. 

“It’s not only a monetary loss, but also a loss of the opportunity to gather together as a community,” he said. “We usually have between 1,200 and 1,500 attendees every year.” 

Vatti noted that the Cajun Fest funds this year would be going to the renovation project of St. Francis’ former church building into a state-of-the-art reception venue and meeting facility.

“We’re looking to put all of our efforts into Cajun Fest of 2021,” he said. “We will not be doing a Christmas event because it would conflict with our annual fundraiser for St. Anthony Catholic School.”


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