By Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
In 1950, the Zehnder family purchased Fischer’s Hotel, just across the street from Zehnder’s; William “Tiny” Zehnder, Jr. was named manager. After a few years operating as Fischer’s, the family agreed with Tiny that if they differentiated the two properties architecturally, they wouldn’t be competing so directly. A building committee consisting of Fred, Tiny and Herman Zehnder was formed and were authorized to hire an architect.
By March of 1958, Fred Zehnder then President of the company, reported back on behalf of the committee that the new design for the addition to Fischer’s Hotel had been agreed upon and that it would be Bavarian.
The 1959 grand opening celebration of the Bavarian Inn addition, was the beginning of The Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival. By 1962, the success of the annual celebration was too much for the Zehnder family to manage and a local volunteer organization, the Civics Events Council, was formed to manage the annual event. By 1970, the event outgrew the downtown area and the decision was made to move the festival to Heritage Park.
In 2016, the leadership of the Civics Events Council, approached various service clubs, downtown business and the Frankenmuth Chamber/CVB with the idea to bring the festival back to its downtown Frankenmuth roots.
In full support of this move, the Zehnder Corporation offered Zehnder Park, just south of our flagship restaurant, as the location for the main entertainment tent. The 2017 Bavarian Festival excitement begins in downtown Frankenmuth on June 8 and is capped off on June 11 with the annual Bavarian Festival Parade. A variety of entertainment tents, German food venues, a kids parade and fireworks on Saturday night are sure to make this move a fun, family oriented addition to downtown Frankenmuth. The full schedule of events and activities can be seen at www.bavarianfestival.org.
We are excited to welcome the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival back to downtown Frankenmuth.
Al Zehnder, CEO
P.S. If you have not booked your overnight stay yet, please consider booking the Barrel of Fun Bavarian Festival package at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark which includes admission to the Bavarian Festival, a one-night stay with waterpark passes, a Family Style Chicken Dinner at Zehnder’s Restaurant and breakfast the next morning at Elf Hollow Cafe. Make it a weekend of festival fun and take in all that beautiful Frankenmuth has to offer! Book online here or call (844) 253-7852 to book your package. Hurry, Barrel of Fun packages go quick. Availability is limited.