In 1975, Fred Kersche started dancing when he was 14 years old. Shortly thereafter, he had his very first performance with his partner who was an old widow, in her 30s. Everything was going fine until she fainted while they were going through the last trio. Poor Fred had to drag a limp partner through the last few notes. He told his mom, Mitzi, that he was going to quit after that but are we lucky that he didn't. He later went on to teach the KinderSchuhplattler group for six years.

One of the many accomplishments of the group was that they travelled to Regina on a number of occasions and taught the Regina Edelweiss Dancers. They practiced for four hours a day, everyday, for two weeks. The girls were so determined that they ended up taking off their shoes and dancing in their barefeet. What happened next - blisters! The girls' feet were so badly blistered that when it came to doing a performance for their parents to show what they learned, the girls could not even put their shoes on for their feet hurt so much. Mitzi said it was quite horrible to see all the wet spots on the floor where their blisters had popped. Our group had also attended a Mosaic in Regina which was a special event whereby tour buses came to the hall every half hour to watch the performers and to have a little bite to eat. The event was held from Thursday to Sunday and the tour buses travelled to all different cultural clubs in Regina. Anyways, the dancers, ours and Regina group, were told that they had just performed the very last show for the weekend. Out came the alcohol - vodka, straight up. Much to everybody's surprise, there was one more bus tour to come in. Well, one dancer was a little incapacitated - luckily he had a strong partner that pulllled him through the dance. At the end of the last dance, he just couldn't kneel anymore and toppled over, pulling his dance partner down with him. Everybody cheered and it made the grand finale after a long weekend.


Still no stories for this time period.  If you have any to add, please email them to me.


In the fall of 1990, our group was hired for a one night performance at Whistler.  We were staying in employee quarters of the village and, of course, we sat up and partied all night. Unfortunately, on the Sea to Sky Highway, there was a major mudslide which closed the highway for 3 days. Oh darn - we had to stay at Whistler and ride out the clean up. One of our dancers was to start a new job on the Monday and he had to call in and tell his new boss that he was not able to make it to work. To his disappointment, his boss decided he could report to the office in Squamish. What a let down. Here the poor guy had to go to bed while everybody stayed up and partied and as he was getting ready to go to work the next day everybody else was getting ready to go to bed.

In September 1991, one of our dancers got married and, of course, we were the entertainment. Besides not knowing what type of a show we were going to do, we also did not bring any equipment. It was decided to do the Bench Dance without a bench - or not a ready made bench. Some of our guys excused themselves from the wedding and proceeded to the parking lot where they found a wooden pallet and some plastic milk boxes and, with that, they made a bench. It was unexpected but it showed how ingenuity works when you are in a tight spot.

On the Labour Day weekend of 1994, another dancer got married. The whole group was invited to attend so inbetween stuffing our faces with an excellent dinner and dessert, we had to change and do a performance. We decided to do the Watschentanz and to use the bride. So here we had the bride spinning in her wedding gown with a flowing train - what a sight to see! The groom knew his duty for that night - he promptly set out to steal back his bride from the two fighting dancers. That was the groom's start of his dancing career. Two years later, he has joined the group and did his first performance after only a couple of months practicing.

It was Whistler Oktoberfest 1994, a very large party for both dancers and attendees. Normally on the Sunday evening, after our shows, we have a party in our hotel rooms. Armin indulged just a little too much. Too bad for him he was sharing a room with Brenda, Tony and Karl who each had a key.We normally play jokes on Armin and this was a doozy. Part of the hotel had unfinished rooms - that is there were doors (but without doorknobs), carpets and bathroom fixtures, no furniture. Well, Armin passed out on his bed, again, and the group decided to "get Armin". We stole into the room, lifted Armin off the bed using the sheets and carried him down the hall to an empty room. Along the way, Armin woke up - 3 times - and each time we placated him with soothing words to go back to sleep - which he promptly did. We left him on the floor in the empty room, no shoes, no glasses, and proceeded back up to our party, laughing all the way. Armin woke up the next morning, made his way down to the front desk and asked a plant (since he could not see without his glasses) for an extra key to his room. The plant did not respond but he eventually did make his way back to his room. Boy was he mad, he swore he would quit dancing, but in the end he forgave us all.


In May 1997, we were hired to provide background for a television movie. The movie was titled "One Hot Summer Night" and aired in March 1998. The movie starred Barry Bostwick (the husband), Christopher Darden (police investigator and yes, he was the O.J. Simpson Assistant DA) and Erika Eleniak (the young wife). I have to admit that the story line was not very good but Ms. Eleniak played her character quite well.  It is just that the plot just veered off and did a complete 360 for the ending.  We did not expect what happened. The storyline is that the husband is killed and his wife and her lawyer/lover are the suspects. During the movie she mentions going to Bavaria for Oktoberfest and that is where you find her in the last scene. It was quite an experience. All we had to do was polka - for up to 8 hours on cobblestones. I think we wore three years of life off our shoes! First we were to polka, avoiding the actor with the tray of beer and schnapps. Then, we had to polka without shuffling our feet or making any noise and without music. Then we had to polka with as much noise as we could for the camera panback. Wow, we never thought it would be that much work! In the end, they dubbed over the real music and added a voice on a loudspeaker. We all seem to be off beat because they added different music for our dancing. As I mentioned, it was an interesting experience and we hope to be able to do something like this again in the future.

On the Father's Day weekend in June 1997, the Victoria Edelweiss Schuhplattler Group hosted a Trachtenfest with us as the guests. The evening was a lot of fun seeing old friends and making new ones. Instead of being billetted out to various dancers homes, we ended up staying at the Club house which has a third floor banquet room. We all pitched our sleeping bags and partied until the sun came up and we actually had a soccer game going on in the dance hall. After a restful two hours sleep, we were all downstairs for a large breakfast so we could catch an afternoon ferry to be home in time for dinner with our families. Our guys learned a lesson, we hope, about playing indoor soccer with barefeet - the blisters are terrible the next morning.

Labour Day weekend in September 1997 was our first time attending Kimberley's Annual Alpine Folkdance Festival. What a trip! We could either drive for 13 hours or we could fly to Calgary and then drive for the remaining 5 hours. We chose to fly and drive but it still made for very long travel time. We arrived in Kimberley at 6:30 and proceeded to change and get to the platzl for our first performance at 7:00. There were events going on all weekend, every afternoon and evening, with the evenings featuring the band "Premium Akkord". It was also a time to make new friends. We got a chance to dance and mingle with the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian from Calgary and the Kapelle Funfzehn, an Alphorn Quartet, from Kalspelle, Montana. There were a few great moments that happened that weekend. One was that we taught and learned a new dance with the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian and performed them both on the Saturday night. Number two was the party at the Bauernhaus which is an old Bavarian house that the owners brought over from Germany brick by brick in railcars. We had plattlers, four accordion players and singers going all night. It really made us all feel like we were back in the old country. And, lest we forget, the bringing on of practical jokes. Karl got the brunt of the jokes this weekend. Not only did he make the mistake of going to bed before the others were ready but he left his toes and fingers where we could get at them. They had a most interesting colour to them the next morning which was removed in the nick of time - just before we were going on for a show. Also, a couple of our people decided to TP Karl to his bed that night. We sure could see how much he drank that night - he definitely did not move at all while sleeping.  Another interesting event that happened is that the Schuhplattler Verien Enzian has two dances that they get audience participation in - one is the Reit im Winkel and the other is the Steirer. Richard, their Vorplattler, grabbed Tony as a partner, luckily they had an old dirndl which they put on Tony and tied up the back. Poor, poor Tony, but what a good sport he was. We do have to give him credit, he did not once stop spinning during the whole dance (which is more than I can say for some of our own dancers during a practice). People say that a picture is worth a thousand words so it was lucky that we were able to videotape the whole dance.


Our group held our annual Schuhplattlertanz on April 25, 1998. Since we had gotten along so well with the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian on the Kimberley weekend, we decided to invite them to attend our dance as a guest group. Well, over much e-mailing back and forth, we finally got a final tally that there were a total of 22 people coming from Calgary (dancers, entourage + one 21-month old boy). WOW!! We sure didn't expect that many people but as they say "the more the merrier". Nine of the dancers were being billetted with us and the rest were staying at hotels or with family. On the Friday night, we all attended a dance at the Vancouver Alpen Club. The Trachten Unterhaltungs Gruppe from the Alpen Club was holding a Trachtenfest and we all thought it would be a good idea to go and support them. Both us and the Calgary group were asked to do an ehrentanz which we were more than willing to do. We had a great time and it started the weekend off on a positive note. SATURDAY. Now, that was a lot of fun. We all showed up at about 6:30 to have a great dinner of Schnitzel or Roast Pork and then the band proceeded to start playing at 8:30. We did a grand march with flags and the Calgary group which looked great with so many people. At 9:15, Calgary did a show of about 5 dances and at 10:15 we did our show of 6 dances then we decided to do a combined dance of the Muhlradl. On Sunday, we headed back to the Club where we proceeded to make a large breakfast/brunch and watch the video tapes of the shows from the weekend. We even had an impromptu workshop where we taught them a dance and they taught us a few. This was a great weekend for us and all attendees and we hope to be able to reciprocate and go to Calgary some day.


Instead of having a show booked for the Thanksgiving weekend, several of us decided to go camping. As the majority of us that went had camping trailers, the weather was not even a deciding factor (it turned out to be nice). We organized a potluck dinner and had a bbq along to cook the turkey. Yes - turkey on a bbq while camping. The best! We had approximately 18 people along and a variety of dishes - potatoes, candied yams, kasler, turkey, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, stuffing, gravy, - too many to name them all. Frank, Gundi's husband, did a terrific job of the turkey - crispy skin and moist and tender. Not only did he have time to cook the turkey, he also shot a deer (as the guys were doing some hunting in their spare time). It was a terrific weekend and it will be something that we will try and continue for years to come.


In 2002, we were lucky enough to have two groups from Austria visit us.  The first was at Easter, the MGV Männerchor Fürstenfeld mit Frauenchor.  They hosted one of our shows and a Heuriger evening for us in Austria.  Some of us went with them on a boat cruise around Vancouver and then met up at the Club for dinner and casual fun evening.  Speeches, speeches, speeches - alot of them were made that night.   We had a show together with them on the Sunday evening which was alot of fun.  After the show, Eric, Tony and Brenda joined them at a bar downtown for (many) drinks and nachos.  Some of them thought the nachos were very strange good but we were surprised at how quickly they were gobbled up.  They left Vancouver on Monday and Brenda met them at their hotel to say good-bye and Eric and Tony went to the airport.  We had a couple of great nights together and hope to see them again soon.

The second group was the VTG Kremsbrücke from Kärnten.  They were a combined band, dance group and traditional music group and some singers thrown in for variety.  Their tour was short and full of events.  We got to spend some time with them and hope they enjoyed themselves.  Tony, Eric and Tom took some of the guys and a couple of girls for go-cart driving, paintball playing (ouch!) and to a local watering hole (stripper club).  The men dancers taught themselves Schuhplattler because they thought it would be a nice addition to their show.  They didn't know that there was Schuhplattler here and were amazed when they saw us.  We had a show on the Saturday but went back to the Club afterwards to party and dance with them.  Things seemed pretty quiet when we got there (many people were already gone as it was a folk entertainment evening and not much dancing) but we tried to liven things up.  Their band went back to playing and we did some dancing and they taught us some folkdancing which was lots of fun.  Afterwards, we all joined them at their hotel for (lots) of beers til the wee hours of the morning.  The next day, Eric, Tony, Brenda and Tanya went to the airport to say good-bye.  Some of them were looking very green and one guy was "visiting" the bathroom.  Great young group, lots of fun.  Prost! Contact!

We hope that the next time we go to Austria we will be able to spend more time with both these groups. 


In 2003, the first Western Canadian Schuhplattler Workshop (WCSW) was hosted by the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian in Calgary.  It was a very successful weekend and we decided to host the next one in Vancouver on the weekend of March 26-28,  The event this time was a little larger than the one in 2003 - we had the groups from Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, us and Seattle, approximately 75 dancers and tag-a-longs! The weekend started with a get to know you at the AVC on Friday evening with much Gemutlichkeit, music and comaraderie prevailing.  A club member even organized some fun Austrian folkdances to get us warmed up for the Saturday morning.  Even though the night was not too late, 9:00 Saturday morning came fast.

We all met at the club with the workshop to get underway at 9:30.  Enzian Schuhplattlers from Seattle (ES) were first up with teaching the Auerhahn, then came the Victoria Edelweiss Dancers (VED) with the Birkensteiner Gloeckerl.  The members of the ES entertained us just before lunch with a few numbers using the whips, a very interesting traditional activity. Don't get too close!  We had a much deserved lunch break with a wonderful spread organized by some of our dancers.  The Bavarian Schuhplattlers of Edmonton (BSE) and us did not teach a dance this year so that ES and VED would have a chance. After the lunch, Schuhplattler Verein Enzian (SVE) taught us 2 dances - the men learned the Wendelsteiner and the women were taught the DirndlRadl, a dance created by the SVE.  We then ran through the Heidauer, which we taught last year, to be the group plattler that evening. WHEW - lots of hard work but it's not over yet! We all left the club at approximately 3:30 only to return again at 6:00 for a buffet meal.  Our club outdid themselves with the roast beef, Schnitzel and potato salad, just to name a few of the items served. The band, Al Pichler & The Alpiners, started us of with a grand march where we showed off all the participants and the flags of Austria, Canada, German, United States, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington and the Austrian provinces.

Lots of social dancing was started with the first performance by ES, followed by SVE, BSE and teh VED.  Our performance was in the 2nd band break.  Following us, we had all groups join us on the dance floor to perform the Heidauer - that was a lot of people! The band continued to play until 12:30 and then the spontaneous dancing started. The groups that we left did various other dances to "show off". Many people who had stayed that late said that this was almost more fun than the earlier performances. We all packed up with plans to come back in the morning for a light brunch. Light.....it was a huge meal. We all now got a chance to sit down, relax, and talk about everything under the sun...from music, Schuhplattler and Tracht to Germany and Austria. Most people started to depart at about noon with cries of "See you in Edmonton in 2006!".

We were lucky that it was not a typical March weekend and that there was only a little rain on Friday and the rest of the weekend was clear. We would like to thank all participants and our club for making it a successful weekend and we look forward to being in Edmonton in 2006. You can see photos of the workshop on our photo page.

The Woitowitsch Award (aka the "Golden Plunger")

In the fall of 1996, we decided to create an award named the "Woitowitsch" after one of our dancers. The award is given to a dancer that has caused a mishap to happen against him or herself at a group function.

1996 - In September 1996, our group was in Vernon for an Oktoberfest and we were staying at Tony's cabin in Lumby (which is 20 minutes away from Vernon) with one bathroom for 14 people. Here we were all trying to get dressed and one of the guys was in the bathroom getting ready (for an awfully long time). The short story is that let's just say that nobody could use the toilet after that. We will not get into specifics but because of that incident the award was named after that dancer.

1997 - This year again went to Karl Woitowitsch. It was during an apres show party at Whistler and we were all dancing and having fun. One of our dancer's boyfriend decided to take a picture of his mouth and Karl said "Take a picture of this!" and proceeded to moon the camera. The camera was Heidi's and she didn't know the picture was taken until she got her film developed. Being the nice girl she is, she promised not to show anybody and told everybody that it didn't turn out and gave the picture and the negative to Karl. Well, we finally got it out of her that the picture did indeed turn out and what an ugly picture it was - she said. Unfortunately, it was thought that since we didn't see the picture, there really was no proof that it actually happened but Karl was VERY "em-bare-assed". The nickname "Hairy Butt" has turned up occasionally since then.

1998 - This year went to Carol Witney. It was during a regular show at the Cloverdale Agriplex. It was a two-day Oktoberfest with two bands playing a mix of dance music. We thought (and so did another woman) that Carol looked lovely that night. As Carol was on the dance floor booging away with Mike, two women approached them and cut in. One took Mike to dance and the other danced with Carol. From Mike's end, the woman he was dancing with was commenting on how nice it is that her friend and his friend were getting along and they liked each other. From Carol's comments, the other woman was getting very chummy with where Carol lived, worked, how they should meet for coffee. Carol felt that the woman was being a little pushy and eventually made her way off the dance floor (with Mike laughing behind her). It was not until she talked to Mike that she realized the other woman's ulterior motive. (Mike was a close second for the award by getting his butt pinched (inside his lederhosen) by a man while lining up to march on for a show.)

1999 - Eve Milz won this year. We had invited the Calgary Schuhplattlers for a ski weekend up at Whistler. It was a great weekend of seeing old friends and making some new ones. Eve made a bet with ? about who sang the song "Relax". She thought she would be smart and ask Karl, our music expert, but he gave her the wrong answer. Tony suggested as payment for the bet that she do a nude snow angel. As Eve is always cold, this was a most unpleasant thought. Eve negotiated to do it in her bra and panties and someone was very quick with the camera. We all had a laugh as the picture was circulated at our Christmas party. [P.S. We all know the answer is Frankie goes to Hollywood, right?!]

2000 - This year's prestigious award goes to Richard Hein.  His faux pas occurred on our tour of Austria.  We were at a Heuriger (celebration of new year's wine) and he was definitely enjoying the new wine.  As we were all singing and schunkelling, Richard abruptly stands and quickly leaves the room (looking very green).  He was still green around the gills when we went back to our hotel for a few nightcaps.  Richard was a long time getting to the party room and it was not til later that we saw proof that he allowed himself to be dressed in the girl's tracht - on tape (not that he knew it was being taped at the time).  [Sorry no picture available.]

2001 - Wow - who would have thought that it would go to Tanya! Quiet, sweet, innocent Tanya. This year we were doing something different. We were all going camping for Thanksgiving. As Tom was not able to make it, Chris and Tanya were going up together (chicks weekend thing). Tanya went up to Chris' apartment and was told by Chris that she could put her gear in Tom's car (as they were using that to tow the trailer for the weekend). Chris gave general directions and the keys to Tom's car and that it was the second car in the underground. Tanya responded that she knew where it was as she had seen it. (It niggled Chris a little as there was no way that Tanya could have seen Tom's car where she had parked her car - but Chris continued to prepare her hair for the drive). Anyways, Tanya proceeded to put her gear in the back seat as she could not open the trunk - key would not work - and came back upstairs. Tanya explained to Chris that the key would not work and that her gear was in the back seat. Somehow in their conversation, Tanya mentioned about being able to see the car from the balcony. "No you can't" explained Chris. Tanya went on the balcony to point out the car and Chris exclaimed "That's NOT Tom's Car!". Tanya rushed down but unfortunately she had locked the doors. Now came the dilemma - what to do, what to do!! As she was trying Tom's car keys to see if they opened the doors, a minivan drove by and asked "May I help you?". Tanya looked at the man and asked if he was the owner and HE WAS! She explained the situation, while all very red in the face (as only Tanya can do) and the guy was very nice in opening the car so she could get her gear. It was a very funny beginning to a great weekend!

2002 - No winner this year!  I think we are all getting smarter and not  doing as many stupid things.  We will have to wait and see what 2003 brings.

2003 - Our newest member, Patrick, won this year.  Even though he was able to do specialty dances in his first year, namely the Bench Dance, he was still very nervous when it came to performing.  When he was picking up the bench to bring out to the floor, he clocked Chris, his sister-in-law, in the back of the head with the bench!  OUCH!

2004 - No winner this year!  Some of us had thought that Eric did some pretty silly things this year but since he is the one to get the award engraved, for some reason it had no name upon it this year.

Movie Credits

March 1998, ABC Movie of the Week, "Crimes of Passion: One Hot Summer Night", starring Erika Eleniak, Barry Bostwick and Christopher Darden.

November 1998, Disney Productions, "I'll Be Home for Christmas", starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

Fall 1998, Warrior Productions, "Shadow Warriors II", starring Hulk Hogan, Carl Weathers & Shannon Tweed.


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