Craft Brew & Sausage Festival at the Liederkranz in Grand Island, NE
The histories of the Grand Island Liederkranz and the city itself are intrinsically tied, and the successful growth of Grand Island was integral to helping Nebraska’s oldest social club thrive. But the German social club actually predates the city itself, with the railroad reportedly deeding the land of the Liederkranz to the club as part of its efforts to seed the town around its newly-constructed depot. As such, the club's first president, John Wallichs, would go on to become Grand Island first Mayor after its 1872 incorporation. As the city grew, so too did the Liederkanz, which not only functioned as a choir and social club, but also grew to function as the town's civil space, hosting momentous occasions in the town's history including the signing of treaties, political debates, performances and galas. Among some notable happenings include hosting figures such as John F. Kennedy, Susan B. Anthony, and William Jennings Bryan. The 150-year history of Grand Island can be seen throughout the Liederkranz, including Hall County’s oldest flag, which is on display. As Grand Island celebrates its sesquicentennial, events like the Craft Brew & Sausage Fest celebrate the significance of German settlers, culture, and arts to the city's history. And the goal of the Craft Brew & Sausage Fest is to bring the Liederkranz back to its former glory, with the hopes that it once again writes a history worth remembering.