Sue LeBar | Democrat
It wouldn't be Von Steuben Day without Richard "Dickie" Haas's famous Bratwurst
Von Steuben Day still draws a crowd
By Susan LeBar
YULAN Despite the fact that the Von Steuben Day Parade was absent from the 19th annual Yulan Fire Department’s Von Steuben Day Celebration, on September 19, attendance was up and the crowd was thrilled with all the events, foods galore, German dancing and music at the Firemen’s Field in Yulan.
Over 1,900 people participated in the event.
Yulan Fire Department President Jeff Haas stated, “Our attendance was up, the sun was out, and we had a great day for everyone to be German for the day. We did run into some issues in getting rides to this year’s event, however, it turns out that despite not having rides here, the kids had a great time playing on the fire truck we brought down and the bouncy house we set up. Every time you looked over at the firetruck kids were climbing in and out of the cab and just having fun, and the bouncy house had a line like crazy. I think they enjoyed that more and it was free to do, so that was also a great thing.”
Haas added that the event also was popular and a huge success due to the efforts of the many volunteers that came out to help make the event a great event,
“We have a great community and on behalf of the Yulan Fire Department, thanks to all the volunteers that came out here today. We would also like to thank the German bands and dancers that are here today and having a great day displaying their German culture.”
This year’s event is special to the fire department because all of the proceeds will go to pay for the cost of their new custom pumper tanker that is due to arrive in the early summer.
Haas added, “We would like to add that despite the parade not taking place, it was a great day for everyone. The parade takes a lot of man hours, volunteers and participation and this year it was just not possible to host a parade, but it was still a great day to be German…”
Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Farrell was on hand with his family and said, “When you look around here today what a… true community-supported event. Our young need to get involved in their local fire departments and ambulance corps and just give some time and it is tough to get volunteers today to join, but just a little bit of time goes a long way. The other great thing about this event is that it honors General Von Steuben himself, who was also a volunteer and he’s partly responsible for the current army field manual that is now in place. So, this day celebrated General Von Steuben and the spirit of the volunteer.”
Sheriff Michael Schiff was also on hand and added, “What a day and what a great spirit of community. Young to the old are all here helping out and just look at the German culture that is alive here today, from the food to the music to the band. It is great to be part of such a great event. Every year this event gets better and better and the Yulan Fire Department does a great job.… I would also urge people to volunteer when they can a few hours can make a big difference. A volunteer fire department and ambulance corps is always there to answer the call and supporting them in events such as this is a great thing to do.”
Donald Vandermark and his wife attend the event every year.
“A lot of people say Disney World is their happy place, coming to Von Steuben Day is my happy place and we love it. We mark it on our calendar and we have a blast here. We love the food, the music, everything,” Vandermark said.
Richard “Dickie” Haas, who is one of the perennial highlights of Von Steuben Day with his famous bratwurst, was also thrilled to be a part of the event.
“We have come to this event every year to cook the bratwurst for the fire department and it is great. I have a lot of fun doing this for them and seeing all the people here is great,” Haas said. “It is a great day to be German. Even if you aren’t, you are today here in Yulan.”
Joann Larson from Owego is one of the members of the Musikverein German Band who participates in the event every year added.
“I look forward to this every year and it is an annual treat for me. I just love it and it is a great festival,” she said.