Written By: Samantha Hart

20150517_162114This past year as Miss German-America has been an amazing journey as I represented the German-American community and the German-American Steuben Parade. I felt especially honored to have met so many friendly and interesting people; starting from the Committee members themselves to the children in various folk dance groups to the Philadelphia Parade’s court and more!

Being a part of the German School of Connecticut, Gottschee7I was amazed at how many German clubs there are in the tri state area. I enjoyed attending the many events from New Milford, CT to the Plattduetsche Park in Long Island to Germania Park in New Jersey to name a few. These events opened my eyes to the abundant opportunities to strengthen the German-American community and its sense of pride. It was the initiation of conversation that truly amazed me. I do admit that I was hesitant to jump into conversation with ‘strangers’ by asking for donations in exchange for cornflowers. What I found had more worth than you could imagine – the personal stories of community members. Hearing their struggles, triumphs, thoughts on modern-day political topics and favorite Christmas traditions was wonderful! Even children who wanted to take a picture or tell the court that they couldn’t wait for the parade brought joy to everyone, truly a highlight of my time as Steuben Parade Queen.

I have had an especially good time learning Schuhplattler folk dances with the Original Enzian group as well as the Bavarian Edelweiss group. I greatly enjoyed my travels to Philadelphia and Atlantic City to take part in their celebrations.

DSC_0052I would like to thank the Steuben Parade Committee for the opportunity I’ve had as Miss German-America and everyone involved for this amazing experience. I will carry the wonderful memories of this year with me for the rest of my life. It was an absolute honor to attend mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Parade day and bring the gifts up to the altar. And as for the Parade, I do not know of a better feeling than riding up Fifth Avenue with the Court! I am so proud to have been able to represent my heritage for the 2015 parade season and look forward to continuing my involvement with this event and the Parade Committee in the coming years.