One Spirit Germany at the Karl-May-Festival 2014 in Radebeul
Katharina Schacht, Barbara Kull, Gabriela Trümper, Monika Fitzner, Bryan Liers
After having established One Spirit Germany we thought about spreading the word. It was the idea of our director Katharina Schacht who is living in Dresden to participate in the annual Karl-May-Festival 2014 which takes place in Radebeul because this festival regularly attracts thousands of people who are interested in the American west. This town is almost a suburb of Dresden. The German writer Karl May spent most of his life in Radebeul. He is buried in town and the city also hosts the Karl-May-Museum. In November 2013 Katharina got in contact with the organizers of the festival in order to get permission to set up a stall at the festival. At the beginning, the communication was a bit difficult but then in March 2014 we received the ok for our stall. Later we found out that they don’t accept applications for stalls before February. After we got the ok, we thought about getting one or two large camping tables and several folding chairs. However, just before we hit the road to go to Radebeul we were informed that they reserved a lockable wooden stall for us at no cost! This made things so much easier for us!
Nevertheless, there was still a lot of work waiting to be done before we could start and we weren’t sure if we would be able to accomplish everything. First of all, Bryan Liers, Barbara Kull and Gabriela Truemper came to Katharina’s place in Dresden on May 29th which was a national holiday in Germany. The weather was lousy, so we first went through our written documentation, completed it and made a portfolio in which we introduced the individual programs of One Spirit in detail. This was Ralf Strohmeier’s idea since our flyer just gives a rough overview about what One Spirit is doing. Unfortunately, Ralf could not be with us but his idea was a great help to us.
In the late afternoon, the weather improved a bit, so we went downtown Dresden and Katharina showed the most important points of interest to us. After we got back home, Bryan prepared a delicious curry for all. Thank you Bryan for a great meal!
On Friday, May 30th we went to Katharina’s place first to load all the material we would need at the festival into our cars. Besides that, we had to wait for the postman to bring the ordered flyers. We weren’t 100% sure that they would be delivered on this day but we dearly hoped so. Then the postman showed up. However, Katharina’s bell did not work and so we missed him. Luckily, one of her neighbors caught the postman, took the parcel and brought it to us. Our next question was: how would the flyers come out? We opened the parcel and were really happy to find professional flyers. So we were more than lucky! By different mail we also got iron-on films with the One Spirit Logo so we could make our special t-shirts for the event. Now that we were fully equipped we set off to the place of the festival. As we expected, the complete place was in a whole mess since all people who had stalls there were about to set them up. Besides that, the festival ground wasn’t a round or square place but a long and narrow road leading along a forest. That means, if somebody parked his car in front of his stall for unloading, other cars could hardly pass by and if there was traffic coming from the other side no movement was possible anymore. Our problem was that we first had to find our stall in that mess. They all had small numbers attached at the outsides but these numbers were very tiny and hard to find. Eventually we found it, quickly unloaded our cars and made our way through the mess to the nearest parking place. If you always wanted to drive a distance of 1 mile backwards with your car in a zig-zag course trying not to damage it or anybody else’s then you may join us next year!
We were very happy with our wooden stall which they obviously also use for Christmas Markets for we found some dry fir branches inside. We got acquainted with our neighbors soon, a guy who breeds alpacas and sells their wool on one side and Oneida Indians on the other side. On the opposite side there was a small enclosure where our neighbor had 3 of his alpacas and besides them were some stalls of Indians from South America.
Since there was no admission to the festival charged on Friday night, the first visitors showed up while we were still decorating our stall. Quite a few of them stopped at our place and we had some interesting talks. Some of the people had already been to Pine Ridge and seen some of the problems. We handed over the first flyers and got the first donations. Among these first visitors was also the German writer Kerstin Groeper who writes historical and contemporary novels about American Natives. She is in contact with people on Pine Ridge and other reservations and always counterchecks her stories with them prior to publishing to make sure Natives can identify themselves with the stories and they are culturally correct. Her books are very popular in Germany. She also had a stall at the festival, moderated the powwow and the films of the Oneidas that were shown after nightfall. In her books, she always introduces charities that work with American Natives and she offered to introduce One Spirit in her next book which she is currently writing so we will keep in contact with her.
After having finished our decoration work, heavy rainfall and a hailstorm set in. At this point we were so happy to have this wooden stall, otherwise we would have ended up in a nightmare.
Next day, Saturday May 31st, was very warm and dry. We had a lot of good conversations with many visitors, explained the work of One Spirit, distributed our flyers and received quite a few donations. After Monika Fitzner joined us and completed our team we quickly found out that the stall was too small to hold 5 persons so two of us were always gone, talking to people and establishing contacts or visiting Fort Henry and the border town Little Tombstone.
Above our stall there was a wide open place with a red rock in the background. Here the organizers had set up a stage for the powwow, for discussions groups and for the late movie shows. Among others, the Oneidas showed several of nicely animated films they had made of their traditional stories.
Sunday, June 1st
After a very cold night we started into a bright but much cooler day than the day before. However, we didn’t mind it. They main thing was that no showers were predicted.
The first event of the day was the coming of a parade of riders. All of the participants had made their way on horseback to the event no matter where they came from. The rider who had to cover the longest distance was given a small pipe by the organizers.
Naturally, there were much more folks visiting the festival grounds than on Saturday and we had many more talks with interested people.
Besides that, we got into contact with personnel of the Karl-May-Museum who agreed to display our flyers at the museum. We also asked if they were interested to sell jewelry from the reservation. Generally, they said “yes”, however, they told us that they still need to sell items they already have in their store but would inform us when they need new ones. Katharina who lives close to the museum will keep in contact with them.
Conclusion: This was our first presentation of One Spirit Germany to the public and we all agree that it was a good start. We distributed many flyers, had good and interesting talks with visitors and some of the other exhibitors and made new contacts. Now we have to wait and see how many people will contact us in order to become sponsors, donors and/or offer to work for One Spirit Germany.
Our special thanks go to the organizers of the Karl-May-Festival and especially to Mr. Jeschick, who gave us the opportunity to introduce One Spirit, raise funds and who provided us with the wooden stall at no cost. It was a tremendous help for us and saved us on Friday night when the festival grounds were almost flooded. Pilamaya!