from Press Enterprise 2003
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ABOUT THE DGS
Article from the Danville News (10/27/00)...
Sunday, January 21, 2001
Slinging the elk
Members of the
German Society demonstrate how their elk toss semi-finals will go
the Jerseytown Community Center, Saturday. The group used a rolled-up
of carpet to simulate an elk and to the cheers of the rest of the
Franz Klingermann, at left, a Danville native now of Winchester, Va.,
it a toss into the air. Shown cheering from left are Peter Dickinson of
Watsontown, Karl Shellenberger of Lancaster and Schlon Wagner of
Winners planned to advance to the actual elk toss to be held in early
The group also held its 62nd annual pork and sauerkraut eat-a-thon at
community center Saturday that featured food, entertainment and
Pennsylvania German heritage throughout the day. Proceeds of the event
helped benefit the Danville SPCA.
German society hosts fund-raiser
Pennsylvania German is one of the most common nationalities in the area. That’s why it’s unusual that the Danville German
Society has so few members.
But that doesn’t stop them from throwing a great party.
Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. the Danville German Society held its 62nd Annual Sauerkraut Eat-A-Thon fund-raiser at the Jerseytown Community Center. The dinner included sauerkraut and pork, mashed potatoes, baked goods. And what German bash would be complete without beer.
But food and drink were only part of the festivities Saturday. “It’s a celebration of our heritage,” said Van Wagner, who is referred to as Schlon when dressed in his German attire. "I found out about (the society) and got involved. It’s a good way to stay in touch with our American-German roots. We’re very proud of them.”
Wagner made sure to explain that Pennsylvania Germans deplored Adolf Hitler and his company during World War II. Besides the dinner, Wagner, Franz Klingerman, also from Danville, and Peter Dickinson of Watsontown belted away on stage, playing German folk songs while others danced. After the food and merriment, it was time to get serious. It was time for the Elk-Tossing Contest.
“Elk used to be common in Pennsylvania,” said Wagner. “At old German gatherings, they used to kill a full-grown elk, have the elk toss contest, then roast the elk for dinner.
“Elk became extinct in Pennsylvania, but have been reintroduced and they’re starting to grow stronger.
“We’re not throwing real elk.”
The Pennsylvania Elk-Tossing Championships are held in early May every year in Benezette, Elk County. Last season, Klingerman was the state champion. The Danville German Society brought in an Elk-Tossing official from Lancaster, Eamonn Sauderburg. “As long as they all throw an item the same weight they’ll classify for the championships,” said Sauderburg, who makes sure the contest complies with the state’s rules and measures the distance of tosses. Saturday the Danville German Society threw a 30-pound roll of brown carpet.
“We aren’t affiliated with the Pennsylvania German Society but we do a lot with them,” said Wagner.
“We don’t get a lot of publicity so we try to use this event to get the word out.”
While their membership isn’t bad, between 35 to 40 people, it doesn’t come close to representing the number of Pennsylvania Germans in the area.
Fun was order of the day during Winter Festival
By: Dan White, Staff January 30, 2002
Elk tosses, fishing for ice, salad tosses: This is not your average party.
RIVERSIDE - Elk
fishing for ice, salad tosses: This is not your average party.
As a matter of fact it was the Danville German Society's 67th annual Winter Festival held Jan. 26 at the Nooning House.
Van Wagner, vice president of the society said the weather was perfect for the event and the gather was a combination of new and traditional events. "We began the day with a 'Scrapple Fest' at Pappas' Restaurant on Mill Street," said Wagner. "Then we took everyone on a 'Scavenger Hunt' through the shops of Mill Street." Wagner said many of the society's members are not from Danville and enjoyed visiting Mill Street. He said the out of towners enjoyed Mill Street. "A whole lot of city guys don't get to a small town like this much," said Wagner. "We had a blast showing them around town." The group returned to the Nooning House and began a variety of races and games. Wagner said. The first event was a dog sled race, he said. "This year we did not have any dogs for racing," said Wagner. "We improvised and made it a human dog sled team with stuffed-animal dogs in the sled." The winners of the competition were Chad McKonploy of Rockaway, N.J., and Randy Brendle of Reading, Wagner said. "That event was amazing," said Wagner. "A couple of college-level athletes came and put a hurting on us."
The group then headed to the banks of the Susquehanna River for a little ice fishing, Wagner said. Although the event was not your traditional ice-fishing event. "We're actually fishing for ice," said Wagner. "You take a lasso and try to get the biggest piece of ice out of the river. You get one chance and then you let someone else take a turn." Wagner said the event was fun for all involved. He said Brendle of Reading took home gold in the category. "Randy competes from all over the state," said Wagner. "He could've easily won a state-level prize.
"With a break in the action, the members headed into the Nooning House for the annual meeting. Wagner said there was much pomp and circumstance with trumpets blasting the meeting to order. "We had a flood of new members this year," said Wagner. "People were joining the group from the Philadelphia and Hazleton areas."
After the meeting, consisting of officer reports and the new members being recognized the games continued. Wagner said a salad toss and a scrap iron toss, which Wagner won hands down. "When it comes to a scrap iron toss, you can't beat the Danville boys," said Wagner. "I hit the target seven times in a row."
After the scrap iron toss there was the infamous "Elk Toss." Wagner assures no harm came to any elks. "Years ago, they actually threw elks," said Wagner. "This year we're using a stuffed elk." Franz Klingerman, or as he is otherwise known as "The Elkonator," reclaimed his title by throwing the elk 57-feet, Wagner said. The toss could have been a record state-wide, he said.
"That evening we held a charity auction in the Nooning House," said Wagner. "We had everything from art to CD's. We raised over $200 for the Danville SPCA." The evening was capped off with a musical jam session at the Nooning House, Wagner said. Banjos, mandolins and fiddles were represented during the session.