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Southern Jog



German Fest

Syracuse, Nebraska; Otoe County

Otoe County, Nebraska experienced a large immigration of Germans in the last half of the 19th century. The Homestead Act of 1861 opened the territory for settlement at a time when economic and political conditions in Germany were causing many to leave their country. A few early German settlers to the area included brothers Henry Frederick and Casper Wellensiek, and William and Louis Schacht. In 1876, Louis visited his parents in Germany and is credited with persuading 100 German families to settle in Nebraska. Those who emigrated from Germany soon became the largest ethnic group from a single country to settle in Otoe County. Today, you will still see many German family names such as Kreifels, Lutjemeyer, Steinhoff, and Buchholz in our cemeteries and in the phone book.

Syracuse celebrates their German heritage every year with a family-friendly GermanFest celebration complete with Wiener-dog races, folk dancing, a grand parade, market and a 2-block biergarten. The day concludes with a concert under the stars featuring a up-and-coming country music entertainer.








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