Pre-Lenten ritual of Fasching features food, drink, dance

Max and Judith Barnstead of Grand Junction burn up the dance floor at the German Fasching celebration in Palisade Sunday.



The menu of a typical German Fasching event is a meat lover’s dream.

Horst Kalin, who has lived in Crawford for 15 years but grew up in Germany, feasted on cutlers, bratwurst, roasted chicken, hog legs (eisbein) and beef rolls (rouladen) during an annual Fasching celebration.

“Rouladen is just one roll, but nobody eats just one,” Kalin said.

On Sunday afternoon outside the Palisade Brewery, 200 Peach Ave., Kalin sat at a table enjoying an American version of the German festival.

The German-American Club of Grand Junction put on the event.

Fasching, pronounced FAH-sching, is celebrated in Germany as the culmination of the pre-Lenten season. A majority of Germans are Catholic or Lutheran and observe Lent, Kalin said

The club wanted to host its Fasching celebration on a weekend instead of the middle of the week to increase participation. Fasching typically is celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, organizers said.

In this country, the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday often is called Fat Tuesday.

The purpose of Fasching is to celebrate one last day before the fasting and solemn devotion of Lent begin. Fasching is similar in purpose to America’s Mardi Gras or Brazil’s Carnival.
Lent begins Wednesday. Easter is April 12.

During Sunday’s event, party-goers danced, dressed up in costume and feasted on microbrews and meat.

Kalin ate a brat topped with sauerkraut and caramelized onions.

“Sauerkraut goes with everything,” Kalin said.

He also had sides of coleslaw and German potato salad. The salad sides were popular in Palisade but would have been tough to find in Germany.

“They don’t waste much time on salad,” Kalin said.

Potatoes and rye bread, along with pastries and strudel, are common on Fasching menus in Germany, Kalin said.

Palisade Brewery owner Christine Greenwald, who is one-quarter German, wore a smile as she grilled brats, chicken skewers and cheeseburgers.

She made sure meat and beer were on the menu Sunday.

Greenwald admitted to not knowing what Fasching was until her business began hosting the German event several years ago.

The Fasching event was a fundraiser for the German-American Club, which gives money to local nonprofits and funds college scholarships.


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