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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Wendish Festival

I started this post a couple of weekends ago after spending a Sunday attending a festival in a small community about an hour from our home.  The trip over did not allow for photos as Leaping Lucy was along for the ride.  LL needed to be in my lap with my arm around her, so not photos of the cotton fields we passed that were ready for harvest.  Those fields sure looked familiar.  The field behind the house in Chambersville was usually cotton.  But this post is not about cotton, it is about the Wendish community we visited.

Texas is made up of many nationalities. According to the Wikipedia article the 2010 census had identified the diversity as follows:
"As of the 2010 US Census, the racial distribution in Texas was as follows: 70.4% of the population of Texas was White American; 11.8% African American; 3.8%, Asian American; 0.7%, American Indian; 0.1%, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander only; 10.5% of the population were of some other race only; and 2.7% were of two or more races. Hispanics (of any race) were 37.6% of the population of the state, while Non-Hispanic Whites composed 45.3%.
English Americans predominate in eastern, central, and northern Texas; German Americans, in central and western Texas. African Americans, who historically made up one-third of the state population, are concentrated in parts of eastern Texas as well as in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas."  

Most folks think of the Latin American population and its influence.  I mean who does not absolutely love TexMex!  If you read the entire reference above you will find the huge influence of the German and Slavic immigrants on the 1800's on central Texas.  The influence in central Texas for the Germanic Slavic settlers is almost as obvious as the Hispanic influence.  Which brings us to one such group of settlers, the Wends which you can read about by clicking here or here.

Pete_unseth photo
Sunday, September 24, at the encouragement of a dear friend, Hubby, Leaping Lucy and I climbed into the Jeep and headed for Serbin,Texas.  Serbin has signs pointing to it.  You will not see much more than a farming and ranching area surrounding a Lutheran Church, former school buildings, a graveyard and The Texas Wendish Heritage Museum.  A church was often the centerpiece of a community of settlers in the 1800's.  In my childhood it just happened to be a Methodist Church that was the center of activity in Chambersville.  The feeling in Serbin was so much the same as my childhood home church.  St. Paul Lutheran church is one of the painted churches in Texas.  Such a lovely little church.

The activity that drew us to Serbin was the 27th Wendish Festival.  The festival is a celebration of the original Wends that came to the area in the 1850's.  On the festival grounds were a few tents with crafts for sale, a band in traditional garb, and other activities like washer toss and stick horse races.  Folks were working under the arbor where the traditional food buffet was available for the price of a ticket.  Others folks were in the nearby open air kitchen where the to go orders were filled.  There were rows and rows of wooden picnic tables and benches filled with folks eating.  One gentleman had settled in for a nap!

Hubby headed for the ticket table while Leaping Lucy and I tried to stay near a dining table away from the main area.  Hubby came back with the tickets and I sent him back to get his food.  He had declared his hunger while we were getting lost on back roads on our way to Serbin.  Back with his food, he took LL's leash and sat down at the table.  When I returned to the table with my food, Leaping Lucy had already amassed an audience.  The three kids were thrilled to watch her while we ate our lunch.  Sausage, sauerkraut, beets, green beans, pickles, bread and drinks were complimented by the sound of polka music from the band.

Turned out the dinner bench with the cool breeze and tent for shade attracted more folks to eat.  All were as friendly as the 3 kids playing with LL.   Not sure if it is because they were native to the area or what but they sure were open about their lives.  In 30 minutes we learned where they and their parents grew up in Texas.  We learned where they went to school, the number of many children and grandchildren they have as well as where they all lived.  That one son's wife could not bear children so they have 3 adopted brothers from Russia.  The friendliness was so familiar.  Farming communities tend to bring that out in people.

At 1 o'clock the youngsters lined up for a stick horse race.  Here are a couple of gif files of the races.  What fun watching the children laugh and run.  Some needed a mom to run along for encouragement.

 Once the stick horse races were over we wandered around the area with the tents and indoor plumbing.  From there we walked to the nearby church.  The same friend had encouraged us to visit the church.  While not the original church build in the 1800's due to a fire, it was still a very nice building.  Obviously lovingly maintained.  There were parishioners inside willing to answer your questions.  I snapped away hoping to get a series to make a panorama.  Found one online that looked better than mine and it is posted at the top of the post.  These interior shots are mine.
the marble effect is paint

Ceiling detail
Entry window
Wendish pioneer log cabin on the grounds of
St. Paul Lutheran Church. Cabin was home of
John Kilian, as well as serving as school and church.
(source: Wikipedia)
By now our legs were saying that by the time you return to the Jeep, you will have done plenty of walking for a while.  Besides the sky was looking threatening again.  We had been rained on already several times in the Jeep and once while waiting for the races.  Sure enough we made it back to the Jeep and headed out only to get caught in a frog strangler of a downpour.  Shortly we drove out from under the cloudburst.  Lucy and I settled in for the drive home.  Lucy was one tired little girl as I am certain for every step I had taken she had taken 10 running from side to side to the full length of the leash.
Thanks for coming along on our little trek over to Serbin and the Wendish Festival.  A time for celebration of some of this USA's great melting pot of glorious traditions.  May we all appreciate our own heritage and appreciate the uniqueness of our fellow peoples heritages.  Blessings on your day.  
                                              .............................  Janice

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