We haven’t been around as long as many other German clubs in CIncinnati, but we’re proud of the dedicated members who have been with us from the start, and the fact that we’re growing and continuing to welcome new members every month.
Händlmaier’s Freunde Cincinnati e.V. was founded by Scott Scholz, who had become a member of the original group while living in Bavaria. Scott enjoyed the club events enough to try to bring the club across the Atlantic to Cincinnati, his hometown. On October 28, 2006, the Cincinnati chapter met for the first time at the Steuben Halle in Clifton. Around 30 new members enjoyed a traditional Weißwurstessen, and then saw the University of Cincinnati’s victory over Syracuse University in the homecoming football game.
A new tradition was founded in 2007: Drinking Medals. What’s a little competition among friends? And when the contest involves drinking beer, everyone’s a winner! The Drinking Medals are the highlight of the December meetings (aka “Medal Month“), and members who have acquired medals proudly wear them to meetings as well as other public events that the club participates in.
In 2008, the Gummistiefel (Rubber Boot) Kicking Competition was started. The Gummistiefel Kicking is held in August and pits competitors against each other in three categories: Mana, Weiba, und Oida Sack, to see who can kick a rubber boot the furthest. 2008 also saw the addition of more traditional observations: in honor of Mother’s Day, in May the club provides flowers to all of the women members of the club; likewise, in June, the gentlemen receive the gift of a cigar in honor of Father’s Day.
On Valentine’s Day February 2009, the club reached a record attendance of 75 members at the monthly Weißwurstessen. Then, in July, future Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Lauren Bishop of the Cincinnati Enquirer published a two-page feature spread of our club (we’ve received quite a bit of media attention over the years). At the following August Weißwurstessen, around 150 curious mustard fans graced us with their presence, and we now average more than 150 people per month at our meetings. Unfortunately, a month later the good spirits of August were dampened by the tragic loss of our good friend and founding club member Rita Vosseberg. The club donated nearly $500 to Old St. Mary’s Church in Rita’s name.
In February 2010, we honored our founder, Scott Scholz, as the “Godfather” of the club. He was presented with a plaque thanking him for his efforts in founding and fostering the development of our club.
December of 2010 saw the first club-sanctioned Pub Crawl, and now we have at least two crawls per year, conveniently timed to be the nights before the December and June meetings (nothing cures a hangover like Weißwurstessen!). And every few months we take over a local tavern for an evening for one of our “Yellow Shirt Invasions.”
Now boasting more than 300 members, Händlmaier’s Freunde Cincinnati continues to be a fun social group, but we have also contributed countless volunteer hours to our events, as well as other events in the Cincinnati German community. We look forward to many mustard-filled years ahead.