Category Archives: Special Events

German Story Night 2019

Story Night was another lovely event at Spielwelt this year. Children and their families enjoyed sharing delicious food for dinner, while chatting and playing in the playground.

We then moved indoors for the main attraction: the songs and stories.

Paul got us all singing “Meine Haende sind verschwunden”, with the actions of course, and accompanied us with his ukelele.

Then Tatjana tooks us all on a bear hunt with all the funny noises and actions; and Johanna had us giggling at a story about slippers.

To finish the evening, Torsten and Otmar entertained us all with some hilarious puppets who had the children rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Everyone pitched in to help clean up after the event, and all agreed we had enjoyed a lovely evening.

This was another keen-to-be-green event: No single-use items were used, and the whole event fed and entertained a lot of families and created less than a shopping bag of rubbish to landfill. Thanks, everyone!

Outrageous Picnic in Haig Park

The Monday scouts and venturers enjoyed an outrageous picnic in Haig Park. This wasn’t just any picnic!

White table cloths, a candelabra, colourful table lights, classical music and black-tie waiter service were the order of the evening. All set up under twinkling coloured lights in the park at night.

Table settings before the scouts arrived

The scouts had each brought something yummy to contribute to the picnic – home-made bread, delicious winter soup, dips, crudite, drinks and German desserts using Oma’s secret recipe.

The main course was “freshly delivered Turkish pide”, courtesy of a Cathy (in a pink flamingo costume, of course, because you know, it’s scouts and an outrageous picnic) and her team from the Haig Park experiments project.

Our fancy menu, auf Deutsch

As it was a scouting event, there had to be plenty of silliness. Our black-tie venturer scout waiters were harnessed and tethered to nearby trees with bungee cords, making it highly entertaining to see them try to deliver food and drinks to the tables.

Scouts enjoyed a three course meal. At each of the three courses, an envelope was delivered and its enclosed instructions were read out: During the Vorspeise, scouts could not feed themselves, but had to feed those next to them. During the Hauptgang, scouts caught speaking anything other than German had their food swiped by a waiter and had to beg (auf Deutsch, natuerlich) for it to be returned. During Nachtisch, scouts had to be blindfolded with beanies or scarves, and eat without seeing anything.

Then the bill arrived at the table. Oh dear! Rather expensive! Nearly 1000 Euros, including the Mehrwertsteuer and Gastronomie fees. The scouts were given three options for payment: cash, sing, or wash the dishes. Predictably, they chose the singing option and were given the lyrics and forced to sing four German children’s songs as a choir. It was really good fun!

We are grateful for the wonderful support of the Haig Park Experiments team.

Keen to be Green report: This event produced about 200 grams of waste to landfill. A great result, Pfadfinder scouts!

Lantern Walk 2019

What a wonderful winter walk we all enjoyed. This year’s traditional German lantern walk was a magical evening.

Many volunteers helped to put the event on: providing food, drinks, shopping, cooking and serving on the BBQ, cleaning, providing the audio/visual magic, and much more.

Families started arriving from all sides of Haig Park, with big grins and lanterns in hand
Our busy event organiser surrounded by the hungry hoards collecting their soup, Thuringer sausages, sauerkraut, rolls, Gluehwein, Kinderpunsch and yummy baked goods.
Soon the crowds were enjoying themselves, eating, drinking and chatting with new and old friends.
We assembled to sing the songs, surrounded by several magical jellyfish lanterns held by volunteers ready at all times to reunite any lost parents with their children.

The walk took us along a path lit by lanterns, to a wide circle area in the forest. There we enjoyed more singing together while the children paraded inside the circle with their lanterns, and we heard a special choral performance by the joeys and cubs.

Returning to the hall, we were entertained by a play about Saint Martin who is associated with the lantern walks in Europe.

After the procession, some stayed on to enjoy the bonfires.

We are grateful to the ACT government for their ongoing support of this event, through the ACT Multicultural Grants program.

Family Oktoberfest 2018

A marvelous time was had by children and adults alike, at the Spielwelt family Oktoberfest on Saturday 3 November.

Along with children currently involved in our playgroups, playschool and scout group, we also enjoyed seeing so many of our alumni returning to catch up… including one family who have returned after having been away in Germany for 5 years.

There were some beautiful Dirndls and great Lederhosen to be seen (even on some of the darling babies), which made the event all the more enjoyable.

The Oktoberfest organising team did an amazing job with the catering and decorating touches.   There were plenty of folk available to help out on the day too, which gave the event a real community feeling.

It was touch and go there the night before, with a total fire ban being announced, but thankfully the ban was lifted in time for us and we were able to use our fire permit and the cooking of our Spanferkel could go ahead.

Christian’s specially brewed Oktoberfest Bier was enjoyed by those who wished, and there was plenty of food, music and games to keep everyone happy.

The Tug of War game was a hit with the dads and kids.  Some of our Pfadfinder set up a rope bridge swing between the trees and lots of children had a wonderful time playing on that.

Our teenaged scouts and friends held their own Oktoberfest picnic gathering in the park, playing soccer and other games, and enjoying each other’s company at what they called “a dignified distance” from the parents.

By using reusable picnic plates, cups, mugs and cutlery, serving fresh home-made foods and creating our own decorations from recycled materials, we were able to reduce our waste-to-landfill from this event by 70% this year.

Our hard-working organising team would like to thank all those who brought such delicious salads, Bretzeln and desserts to share…. and thank the many folk who helped setting up tables, washing dishes and packing up afterwards.

 

 

Lantern Walk 2018

Sankt Martin was seen galloping about on his trusty horse on Sunday night in Haig Park, amidst the many children and families with their beautiful lanterns, at this year’s German Lantern Walk.

Many Spielwelt families and their guests rugged up and braved the authentic-German-winter night air, to join the festivities.

There was music throughout the event:  Mike and his wonderful hand-crafted traditional German Drehorgel, an ambient guitar, a peppy brass and wind quintent including one of our talented scouts,  the sweet tones of the Pfadfinder Joey & Cub choir, and of course the many voices of families participating in the walk  who had no doubt been practicing the lantern walk songs at home.

The food was, of course, delicious and warmed our hands, stomachs and souls.  There were scrumptious home-made soups, German Bratwurst (from the Brathaus) served on buns with onions and steaming sauerkraut (and thanks to our cracker-jack team of efficient BBQ volunteers we had very short queues this year),  fresh breads,  traditional Weckmaenner (who held their own lantern parade before coming to ours, judging by the photo below), a mouth-watering array of Nachtisch (desserts) all baked and donated by  our wonderful families, and of course, the ever popular Kinderpunsch and Gluehwein served up by our all-time-favourite Gluehwein team.  (Craving more? Recipes here!)

We are keen to be green, so proper mugs, cups and bowls were all provided instead of disposable ones (thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant) in our continued efforts to reduce waste.

Thus nourished, the crowds gathered to sing some of the songs, guided by the lyrics (projected onto the side of our new shed), before setting off on the walk.

The procession headed out into the park, lanterns bobbing along and brightening our paths, as the sounds of singing voices and accompanying instruments floated out through the darkness.

We stopped part way, to form a large circle so the Spiel und Spass children and friends were able to parade their lanterns inside the safety of the circle, while the sweet voices of the Pfadfinder Joeys & Cubs delivered a fine performance of a beautiful lantern song for us, accompanied by the talented guitarist.
Arriving back at the hall, the procession was greeted with baskets of Weckmaenner to eat and share.  The children gathered with their lanterns on a large tarp to sit and watch a short play about Sankt Martin stopping in his travels to share his cloak with a poor beggar dressed only in rags at the gates of Amiens.  The narration of the interactive play was partly provided by the crowds singing the various verses of a Sankt Martin’s Leid.  Inspired by the kindness of Sankt Martin, our families kindly donated just under $100 to our collection tin for Barnados in Canberra.

Following the play, our “after party” enjoyed a bonfire to warm up, before helping to  tidy up, wash the dishes and head home.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who helped in all ways great and small, to make this year’s walk an indisputable success.  Special kudos goes to Alice who orchestrated the whole event from the planning to the delivery.  Danke!

Federweisser Fest 2018

Saturday’s Federweisser Fest was a big hit with the crowds who came to enjoy the good food, wine, music and company.

From all accounts, the Federweisser (young wine) fermented especially for Spielwelt by Alex McKay of Collector Wines, was absolutely delicious, and a great treat for connoisseurs of such things.

Folk had a huge variety of delicious Zwiebelkuchen to choose from, thanks to the many families who tried their hand at Oma Heidi, Tante Gertrude or Oma Internet’s favourite recipes.   (There was even enough for the event organisers to be able to take some home at the end – what a great way to reward our wonderful event organisers!)

Children enjoyed the playground and running around in the park, as well sampling the grape juice, German sausages and buns.

It was great to see so many families from our playgroups, GAP, Pfadfinder, as well as Deutsche Stammtisch members, and other community supporters.

The event raised $600, which is a terrific result – thank you everyone for your generosity and support.

Special thanks go to Gerda, Gerald, Uli, Chris and their families and team members for all the great organisation and work; and thanks to Richard and Friederike who helped with the BBQ, cleaning and serving on the day.

A few of the many delicious Zwiebelkuchen on offer at Federweisser Fest!

 

Sankt Nikolaus visits GAP

Sankt Nikolaus has been seen at GAP this week already, and will return on Friday for the Thurs/Fri class. As always, it is charming to have him visit.  (The photo above was taken with that same Nikolaus at the GAP in 2008!)
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Nikolaus is once again giving out traditional Christmas oranges, together with Christmas stickers and a little chocolate.  The kind saint has obviously got a good connection with the German Embassy as their logo is on the little packets of German gummy bears he has been leaving in the children’s shoes!
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Why not toys? Why oranges? you might ask.  Well, apart from the fact that our children live such wonderfully privileged lives in Canberra and receive what many would consider to be far too many material objects and toys already; and putting aside the fact that many plastic toys eventually just contribute to landfill or end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch …. oranges and Sankt Nikolaus are a long-standing German tradition.
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According to the legend, Sankt Nikolaus once heard of a family so poor they were planning to sell one of their children into slavery.  Saint Nikolaus visited the family at night, and wanting to leave money anonymously for them, he dropped three golden balls down their chimney.  These landed in one of the children’s socks which had been hung near the chimney overnight to dry.  And so the tradition started.
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In times since, oranges have been used to represent the golden balls given by Sankt Nikolaus.  Oranges were rare and precious in those days.
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In a more recent example, one of our GAP parents who grew up in East Germany remembers that oranges were still considered a luxury when she was a child, and that to receive one at Christmas was a very special treat.
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So the children are not getting “just oranges” – they are sharing a legend, a tradition, and some great German culture.   Sankt Nikolaus mentioned to the children today that they were also getting vitamin C from their oranges, and one of the children corrected him: Oranges start with vitamin O!

Oktoberfest 2017

A huge thanks to our Oktoberfest organising team: Gerda, Gerald, Christian and Uli!  Many thanks also go to those who brought food to share, helped set up, prepared foods, washed dishes, and helped tidy up afterwards.

The crowds enjoyed good company, enjoyable music, and great German foods (the Wurst, pretzels and salads were terrific, the cakes and strudel were superb, and many folk reported that the Spanferkel was delicious).

Children played some fun German games, the entertained themselves playing on the scouts’ rope bridge and riding plenty of bikes and scooters.  It was lovely to see children of all ages running about in the park having a grand time while their parents socialised.

 

A plethora of colourful Dirndls, traditional Lederhosen, felt hats from various regions of Germany, and of course Biersteine, added to the festive atmosphere.

 

Thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant, these great cups can be reused at all our special events. No more waste!

The after-party carried on until 10pm, for those whose children were old enough for such a late night.  There was plenty of laughter coming from around the Lagerfeuer – a good night was had by all.