Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

May 30, 2013

Event to highlight city's heritage

Jackson Adams Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — ALTAMONT — Altamont’s first German Heritage Day Saturday is intended to not only be a celebration of the town’s history but also a way to welcome any new residents.

”Even before Altamont was founded, lots of people from Germany were settling here,” said Linda Schmidt, co-chairwoman of the Family Friendly Committee of Developing Altamont’s Future. “We just wanted to celebrate the German heritage and have the rest of the area realize that we have this great cultural heritage.”

The event, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Klitzing Heritage Park, is intended to be educational as much as it is a celebration. The Altamont Public Library will present traditional German folk stories and the day will be filled with traditional German garb and games that would have been originally played by the earlier settlers of the area in the 1860s.

Schmidt said the response from the area has been impressive and many of the activities are geared for the entire family.

”It’s been generating interest,” she said. “We’ve asked the five Lutheran churches that have a German background to do a display with pictures from the past and that’s getting a good response. It’s really a chance for everyone to learn a little more about their heritage. We’ve included the old-fashioned games and costumes to get a little bit more of a feeling of the times.”

Even with a celebration of the culture that formed Altamont, Schmidt said it’s important to remember that all people who’ve come to the community help to make the area what it is today.

“People can come and have a fun day together and make people of all ages aware that there is a German heritage here,” she said. “But we definitely welcome people of all ethnicity and that’s what makes our communities what they are.”

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.