History of the DGS
On Halloween night 75 years ago, Hans Shellenberger and Schlon Wagner set out to reclaim the pride of the
Pennsylvania Germans in the town of Danville, Pennsylvania. As they were getting ready for a fun night
of trick-or-treating Hans said to Schlon "your costume looks very English...what's up with you, dude?!"
Schlon then realized that his German culture had been overshadowed by the dominant English
culture..and said "Hans...we need to get German!" The two boys tore off their costumes of Raggedy Ann
and Andy, and put on their Lederhosen to become....Hansel and Gretel! After a fun night of whoopie
pie feasting and beer drinking (yes, it was during Prohibition, but we're Germans), they wrote this
"I, Schlon Wagner, and I, Hans Shellenberger, will strive to awaken
Danville's German heritage. Every
year on Halloween we will wear our Lederhosen with pride and sing songs to glorify Katy Klutz."
Membership was very slow in the early years, but picked up
certain periods such as when
Birkenstock sandals were introduced into pop-culture. The society's numbers peaked at an amazing 87
members in 1951. Many happy Halloweens were celebrated. One of the most trying periods in our
history was during the second World War. Our membership suffered although we were strongly against
Nazi Germany and supported the United States as German-Americans.
At the beginning of a new millenium, the focus of the society is on
promoting Pennsylvania German
culture and history. We attempt to educate the public on topics such as the language of the
Pennsylvanian "Dutch" and answer such questions as "What is a Distelfink?" We also are trying to give
something back to the community by donating profits from our events to charity.
The Danville German Society was founded
...to promote and celebrate Pennsylvania German culture.
...to educate the general public on Pennsylvania German issues.
...to have a good time.