DSB Clubhouse
Delaware Saengerbund and Library Association
49 Salem Church Road
Newark, DE 19713, USA
Phone: (302) 366-9454

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The Delaware Saengerbund was founded in March 1853 by 16 German men as a singing society. It soon became an important social club for the members and their families and newly arriving immigrants. The club was located at 205 East Sixth Street in Wilmington, known as the "German Hall", from 1883 until 1965, when urban development made a move necessary. The society has been in continuous existence since 1853, making it one of the oldest clubs in Delaware.

Picture of the DSB Club The Delaware Saengerbund now has close to 800 members who meet at the club house on 49 Salem Church Road in Ogletown. Besides an active chorus, the club sponsors a Bavarian folk dancing group: the "Enzian Volkstanzgruppe"; a Ladies' Auxiliary: the "Ladies of the Delaware Saengerbund" in charge of food preparation; youth soccer teams: the "DSB Kickers"; a teenage group; and German language classes.

The Delaware Saengerbund shares its German heritage and traditions with the public at two annual events: The "Oktoberfest" held on the third weekend in September that draws more than 15,000 visitors to the three day festival, and the "Christkindlmarkt" - the Christmas Festival and Bazaar - held on the second Saturday in November and sponsored by the Ladies of the Delaware Saengerbund.

The Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest is named after the widely known festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria. There, the first Oktoberfest was celebrated as a wedding festival of the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig on October 12, 1810 in Munich, Germany. In later years, the festival commemorating the wedding grew larger and longer, first in the city, then countrywide "Volksfest", or folk festival. To ensure milder weather for all the outdoor activities, the beginning of the 16 day celebrations was moved into September, only the last weekend falling into October. The name "Oktoberfest" remained with the fair.

Each year on the third weekend in September, the Delaware Saengerbund recreates the atmosphere of the Oktoberfest for the people of Delaware and the surrounding states. More than 15,000 visitors come to the large tent erected on the club grounds to enjoy dancing to German brass bands, sample homemade potato salad and sauerkraut, and watch performances of "Schuhplattler" dances by the Bavarian folkdancing group. Free amusement rides for children make this a fun and affordable event for the whole family, a taste of Munich in Ogletown.

The custom of bringing whole villages and towns together for a festival is much older than the Oktoberfest associated with Munich. Throughout Germany, people celebrate a folk festival to "Volksfest" to commemorate the founding of a town, a church dedication, or an historic event.

The Delaware Saengerbund and the German community of Wilmington held the first "Volksfest" in September of 1883 in the Schuetzen Park of Wilmington, located in the area of Wawaset Park. It was held there for the next several years. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the society, the Delaware Saengerbund organized another Volksfest, this time at the new Brandywine Springs Park. The festivals continued annually until 1912. When the Delaware Saengerbund celebrated its 125th anniversay in 1978 with a large tent to accomodate all the guests, the idea of having an annual festival was reborn, and the first Oktoberfest in the Munich style was held in 1979. Since then, the Delaware Saengerbund has become a much anticipated tradition in Delaware.

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Last Modified: Monday, 16-Mar-2015 19:07:58 EDT