Arty Dodger juggles his way through Main Street, entertaining hundreds of revelers Saturday. The Fasching Celebration was a huge success as hundreds came to Minden to celebrate its German heritage.  Michelle Bates/Press-Herald
Arty Dodger juggles his way through Main Street, entertaining hundreds of revelers Saturday. The Fasching Celebration was a huge success as hundreds came to Minden to celebrate its German heritage. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald

Mother Nature smiled on Minden Saturday with sunny skies and amiable weather as revelers enjoyed everything the fourth annual Fasching Festival had to offer.

The Fasching, the German equivalent to Mardi Gras, served up German-style food, entertainment and fun. Kids got their faces painted, enjoyed the rides at the “karneval” and several games. Adults got to do a little early Christmas shopping and enjoy some good music, entertainment and see Santa Claus and his elf.

Pattie Odom, Minden Main Street executive director, said she was glad the weather turned out so wonderfully, given forecasts for rain all throughout the day.

“We had a fantastic crowd,” she said. “The weather came through, and we had several visitors from outside the area – several from Germany who live in Shreveport. We also had a German who lives in Lake of the Pines, Texas, who came over. We couldn’t have had a better day.”

During the Fasching, with vendors and shops along Main Street selling their wares, tourism director Lynn Dorsey entertained several journalists from the surrounding area as they made their way through Minden.

“The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau was delighted to host the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights media tour again this year,” she said. “We were so pleased that they were scheduled this year around Minden’s Fasching Fifth Season Festival. They had the opportunity to experience the festival in person, which is so much better than trying to share an experience with press releases, photos and videos. The weather was perfect and they all stated they loved Minden. They were all so impressed with the idea of promoting Minden’s heritage. Congratulations to Pattie Odom and all the volunteers who made the Fasching a success again this year.”

Courtney McDuff, assistant editor of Louisiana Cookin’ out of New Orleans, gave her thoughts on the tour, which began in Shreveport-Bossier and ended in Natchitoches.

“This is a new experience,” she said, “and so far I like it. Minden is a part of our media tour, and so far, it’s been really nice.”

Others along on the tour included Jada Durden, a freelance writer and blogger, Syd Kearney of the Houston Chronicle, and a member of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau Brandy Evans, vice president of communications and Kelly West, public relations for the Alexandria-Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With so much fun to choose from, entertainment included several bands: at Orleans on Main, Red River Valley Band, The Freddie Robinson Band, Bluegrass Jam Band and Kaerington Wilson. At the Courtyard on Pearl Street were the Street Rats String Band and Rifle. On the main stage were the Puppet Ministry, Bayou Gypsies and German favorites sung by the Minden Community Chorus. The featured band for the day was the German band AlpenMusikanten, who sang German-style music.

The Minden Fasching Celebration brings distinctive German traditions to Minden and Webster Parish and celebrates its heritage.

According to history, Charles Veeder, in 1835, built an inn on a hilltop a few miles from Bayou Dorcheat. The settlement was named Minden after the home of his ancestors in Germany. A group of German utopians, who followed Count Leon to North America, established a settlement seven miles northeast of Minden. And to honor Minden’s German heritage, the Fasching Celebration was born.

Odom gave thanks to the committee that worked so hard to put the Fasching Festival together and make it such a success: Elaine Eaton in charge of entertainment, Kerry Easley in charge of sound and equipment, the Krewes of Akewa and Ambassadeurs which handled the beer gardens, Tammy Eaton for costumes for the community chorus, Ann Easley for signage, Mervin “Doc” Ardoin for the shuttles and tours of the Germantown Colony and Museum, city employees and Shawn Hatcher and the Youth Challenge Program cadets for all their help in setup.

After such a busy day, revelers enjoyed a fireworks show and the lighting of the Christmas lights to kick off the Holiday Trail of Lights.

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