In August 1998 the Tanz und Plattler group was created by some members who "grew out" of the youth group they were in. For most it was a continuation of what we had been accustomed to in the youth group. We had fun together, made up dances, and traveled to different places. it wasn't until 2001 that our whole concept of dancing had changed. We found an organization called "Gauverband Nordamerika" and they advertised "Gaufest 2001 - a Gaufest Odyssey". That sounded like a party. We contacted Gemutlichen Enzianer, bought our Festtickets, rented a bus and we were ready to party. After looking over the fest package that came in the mail we were reading words that we had never seen before, and carnations for what?
The members of Gemutlichen Enzianer were very patient with our silly questions and when we finally arrived to the Nevele Resort our jaws dropped!! We were in awe of what we were seeing. We started talking to people, learning more about the Gauverband, the people, dancing and Tracht.
We noticed one group in particular looked different from the rest so we stuck around to watch them perform. It turned out to be dancers from the Chiemgau. At the end of that performance we fell in love, looked at each other and said "we can do that" those 4 words changed our lives. We took that 10 hour trip to Gaufest for the party and left with a new dream. On the long ride home we became GTEV Chiemgau Windsor, and on November 20, 2001 we became an official non-profit organization.
In 2002 we obtained a grant from the Ontario Truillium Foundation to help purchase our new Tracht, which arrived that year. We began practicing our dances regularly. The same group of us that said "we can do that" were looking at each other saying "how are we going to do this?" We took a much needed trip right to the source... the Chiemgau to find out what we needed to do differently. Luckily we became friends with the Vorplattler of GTEV D'Griabinga Hohenaschau (Claus Reiter) and the 2.Vorplattler of the Chiemgau Alpenverband (Klaus Löhmann)It took a few more trips back to really be trained on the finer details of the Chiemgauer style, butthose were trips we were willing to make.
By now our dancing was getting better but somehow our Tracht just wasn't quite perfect, again we went to the source, Hilde Dufter - Trachtenwartin of the Chiemgau Alpenverband (she tells them how to do it..who better to ask?) At the 2003 Gaufest our whole group ended up in Hilde and Otto Dufter's hotel room as she pulled our shawls tight, put safety pins here and there and began teaching us how to do a proper "gretlfrisur" I felt like a little girl being dressed by mom. She was very patient with us , showing us every detail about our Tracht and even sending us pieces that we needed to complete the proper Tracht when she returned home. It was a great moment for all of us, to be able to learn from the masters of the trade. I think that they were proud of us too! Otto invited us to Unterwössen and learn the dance of his home town, and we took him up on it too!
In 2003 we attended Gauball of the Chiemgau Alpenverband and the next day had coffee and cake at the Dufter's. it was one of the greatest experiences in our history... to experience their passion and dedication to the Trachten community first hand was indescribable.
In 2006 & 2010 we were invited to participate in the Munich Oktoberfest Trachten parade, this was in these moments that we truly knew we were doing it right! To be included in this historic festival, waving to the crowd while marching side by side fellow Chiemgauer Trachtler was a moment that brought us to tears. On May 4, 2013 our Verein obtained a Guinness World Record for most dancers danciing around a maypole at our Maifest. It took the help of so many local Trachten Verein to accomplish this task with clubs coming from St. Catharines, Kitchener, and Toronto Ontario as well as Michigan and Ohio. We could have never done this without all of the support of the Trachten community.
In May 2015 we saw our dream of marching behind our own club flag become a reality. Our Paten Verein GTEV Edelweiss Detroit, STV Bavaria, Cleveland, Gemutlichen Enzianer, NY, St. Catharines, Ontario, GTEV D'Lustigen Isatraler, Pittsburgh, Bavarian Sports Club, Toledo had representatives there to celebrate the day with us, in addition to other local German Clubs. We had been invited to participate in the Gaufest of the Chiemgau Alpenverband and march in our own spot in the parade and mass and we got our flag complete just in time. It made it's first trip over to Bavaria to participate in the 9 days of Gaufest. This trip was the highlight of our club's history...to be standing in mass hearing "herzlich willkommen & Welcome" the first time English words were officially spoken at at Chiemgauer Gaufest. That exact moment changed so much for our members, THEY invited us into their world because we had earned it. We put in the work, we learned about their culture and traditions, and Tracht and dancing and we believe it and live it and honour it just as they do. We see the beauty in every piece of clothing and the history and tradition that makes up each and every festival we put on, and we honour that. They saw that we would always honour that and invited us to participate in their Gaufest. It changed everything! The pride we feel grew, our ambitions grew and we look forward to what the next pages of our history book will be.
A history would not be complete without acknowledging the members of GTEV Edelweiss Detroit who have shown us the real meaning of friendship, we have learned so much about Bavarian traditions, song and music through their members. They have always guided us with constant support and love just as Parents do! Our Verein is very blessed to call them our Paten and we look forward to our continued journey together.