Tickets on sale for 2005 Schmeckfest

Tickets on sale for 2005 Schmeckfest Orders are now being taken for tickets for the 47th annual Schmeckfest to be held in Freeman in April 2005.

For the first time in the history of the event, the popular ethnic German meal will be served on two consecutive weekends. In response to the demand for Saturday night tickets, next year's Schmeckfest will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9 and April 15 and 16.

All meal tickets are sold by mail order, advance sale only. A full three-course meal featuring the traditional foods of the Freeman community is served family style to 1,000 guests each night.

Tickets are also now on sale for reserved seats for the 2005 Schmeckfest musical production "Guys & Dolls." This is the first time the musical comedy by Frank Loesser, which won Tony awards in both 1951 and 1992, takes the stage as a Schmeckfest musical. It will be presented each night of Schmeckfest with an 8 p.m. curtain at Pioneer Hall.

The festival also includes free demonstrations, displays, programs and exhibits celebrating the Germans-from-Russia Mennonite tradition of the Freeman community.

Tickets for the meal and reserved seats for the musical are mail order, advance sale only. For tickets or more information, write Schmeckfest, Box S, Freeman, SD 57029 or go to www.Schmeckfest.com.

All orders received prior to Dec. 1 will be filled by a random drawing. Those received after Dec. 1 are processed daily with first-choice preference given when available. All orders for tickets should include a check and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Schmeckfest � a "tasting festival" � was started in 1959 as a one-time, one-day event by the Freeman Academy and Junior College Women's Auxiliary to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It featured the favorite dishes of the Mennonite people who immigrated to the area from Russia in the 1870s.

That first Schmeckfest proved to be so popular that it was repeated the following year … and the year after and it quickly became an annual affair. It soon expanded to two days and then to three days. The event has become known nationally for its celebration of tradition and culture and is held annually in late March or early April.

In recent years, the popularity of the event has resulted in Saturday's meal being sold out almost immediately after tickets go on sale in late November. In response to that demand, the organizers decided to move from the one-week Thursday, Friday, Saturday format to the two-week Friday, Saturday format that begins next year.

Proceeds from Schmeckfest go to benefit Freeman Academy, a Christian, co-educational middle and high school affiliated with Mennonite churches in the area established in 1900.

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