News Articles

From the Daily Item (March 13, 2004) from Wayne Laepple:
Here’s the wrap-up of the Danville German Society’s Elk Toss: they raised $450 for the Good Samaritan Fund, gave $50 to the Thomas Beaver Free Library and gave $75 for a Pine Grove Area High School student to go on a whale watching trip. They also got an entire grocery cart full of canned goods for the Danville-Riverside Food Bank. Way to go, folks.

German Society tossess in some fun at annual heritage event
By NICK PETRUNCIO, The Danville News February 24, 2003
Danville native Van Wagner spins around before releasing the elk during the elk throwing contest near Stingers in Riverside during the Danville German Societys annual Winter Festival on Saturday.
DANVILLE - Ethnic heritage runs strong in the veins of Danville German Society members.
This past weekend, about 25 of them came together from as far away as the western part of the country to participate in an annual series of activities.
They included a scrapple fest at Pappas Restaurant, hamburger eat-off at the Jerseytown Tavern, elk toss, scrap iron toss and auction.
Danville naitve Van Wagner hoped the event acknowledged all the different ethnic and racial backgrounds that make up the Danville area, including African American, Eastern European, Irish and Welsh.
"It's a celebration of our ethnic background. It's not necessarily stuck on Pennsylvania-German so much. It is just a great excuse to get out and have some fun," he said.
Wagner and his wife, Tamara, traveled from Idaho for the event - the 2003 Elk Toss Semifinals and Winter Festival.
Members paid to participate in the events. Proceeds went to the Women's Center Inc. of Bloomsburg, which is a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Society members wore traditional German outfits as they participated in the different events, which took place in Riverside and Jerseytown in addition to Danville.
Perhaps the most anticipated event was the elk toss, which took place at The Nooning House on D&H Avenue in Riverside.
For early Pennsylvania-Germans, flinging the animal's carcass into the air for distance was how those settlers ended their hunting trips hundreds of years ago.
"The elk toss was a strong man competition to celebrate the end of the hunt," Van Wagner said. It is similar to the Scottish caber toss.
Robb Bomboy, who also goes by the German name Franz Klingermann, was the returning elk-toss champion. He also won the year before last.
A real elk isn't used in these competitions.
Instead, an "elk" made of wood, brown sacks, wire coat hangers, rope and masking tape went into constructing a replica this year.
After two rounds, Bomboy grasped the "elk" by its front hooves - made of rope - and spun with it around in the snow before releasing it into the air.
It landed 22 feet away. That distance gave him the title of Elk Toss Champion for the third year in a row.
"This is a proud moment for me," Bomboy said, a bit tongue-in-cheek. "This sat on my mantle all year," he continued, referring to the trophy he was allowed to keep.
Bomboy is originally from Danville but now lives in Winchester, Va.
Bomboy is in his 20s, like most of the festival participants. Society members range in age from their 20s to their 50s.
The society has been around since Oct. 31, 1924, according to its Web site:
A white-haired man, who goes by the name Muntz, came up from Honeybrook, Chester County.
"Anytime there's a bunch of nuts hanging around I'm usually there," he said with a laugh.
Muntz, who is friends with Van Wagner, came up for the music festival and to help out for what he said was a good cause.
The auction took place inside The Nooning House.
In the early evening, the music festival began at the Pine Barn Inn, Danville. It featured Wagner and other bluegrass musicians.
At the Pub on Mill Street, Danville, a magic show was held, and the group finished the evening a block away with hoagies at the Danville Sub Shop.
©The Danville News 2003
 Reader Opinions
Post your opinion and share your thoughts with other readers!
  Name: elk tosser fan
 Date: Feb, 26 2003
What a wonderful article! I was at the events...and they were definitely superb this year! Hopefully we will have an even bigger turn out next year with new members joining as well!
  Name: Rick Victor
 Date: Feb, 24 2003
just wanted to write and say how great I thought this whole story was. I have been reading your coverage of the Danville German Society for a few years and trying to figure out if they are for real...I know have realized it doesn't matter if they are real or not...they have a lot of fun and bring a lot of smiles to Danville.

from Press Enterprise 2003



Article from the Danville News (10/27/00)...

Article from Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise...

Sunday, January 21, 2001

Slinging the elk


Press Enterprise/Tom Adams

Members of the Danville German Society demonstrate how their elk toss semi-finals will go outside the Jerseytown Community Center, Saturday. The group used a rolled-up piece of carpet to simulate an elk and to the cheers of the rest of the group, Franz Klingermann, at left, a Danville native now of Winchester, Va., gave it a toss into the air. Shown cheering from left are Peter Dickinson of Watsontown, Karl Shellenberger of Lancaster and Schlon Wagner of Danville. Winners planned to advance to the actual elk toss to be held in early May. The group also held its 62nd annual pork and sauerkraut eat-a-thon at the community center Saturday that featured food, entertainment and celebrating Pennsylvania German heritage throughout the day. Proceeds of the event helped benefit the Danville SPCA.

Article from Danville News...

German society hosts fund-raiser

Monday, January 22, 2001
Eric Pehowic

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.

From Danville News...

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 tosses, 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.

From Pottsville Republican...

For Emil Bottova, Summit Station, a lit bit of Tabasco helps the pierogies go down. However, he only wolfed 10 of the pasta pockets, 13 short of the winning number, at the annual Pierogie Bowl Sunday at Schuylkill Mall.
By Andy Matsko