Tickets on sale for 2009 Schmeckfest Freeman to host 51st â�?�?tasting festivalâ�?�?
Community to present musical â�?�?Into the Woodsâ�?�? Orders are now being accepted for tickets for the 51st annual Schmeckfest to be held in Freeman March 27 and 28 and April 3 and 4, 2009. The popular festival, which began in 1959 with an ethnic German meal, has grown to a multifaceted festival now held on two consecutive weekends. A full three-course meal featuring the traditional foods of the Freeman community is served family style to 1,000 guests each night. All meal tickets are sold by mail order, advance sale only. Tickets are also now on sale for reserved seats for the 2009 Schmeckfest musical production "Into the Woods". This is the first time the award-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim will be staged as a Schmeckfest musical. It will be presented each night of Schmeckfest with an 8 p.m. curtain at Pioneer Hall. Sterling Hall, the gymnasium on the campus of Freeman Academy completed just in time for the 2008 festival, will again be the site of free demonstrations previously held at the Industrial Arts Building and Administration Building. The Country Kitchen bake sale and foods for sampling will also be located in Sterling Hall, which is handicap accessible and is located northeast of Pioneer Hall. The Freeman Academy Auxiliary, which sponsors Schmeckfest, will again provide free admission to the Heritage Hall Museum complex which houses the Plains Indian Artifacts Display and thousands of items from the history of pioneer settlers and early life in South Dakota. Demonstrations of early pioneer activities can be found throughout the museum. Historical and musical presentations will be presented in the Bethel Church, which is part of the museum complex. 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. Online credit card orders for both meal and musical tickets can be placed at that site starting Dec. 15. A random drawing is held Dec. 1 to process all orders received prior to that date. Ticket orders 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, then to three days and now two weekends. The event has become known nationally for its celebration of tradition and culture and is held annually in late March or early April. Proceeds from Schmeckfest go to benefit Freeman Academy, a Christian, coeducational middle and high school affiliated with Mennonite churches in the area established in 1900.