If you're not from South Dakota, Schmeckfest may sound like a made-up term for some sort of wacky music festival. Lucky for us, we know Schmeckfest is a celebration of traditions which include food. Lots of delicious food, like--kuchen, noodle soup, bratwurst (Schmeckfest sausage), savory bierocks, fried taters, to mention but a few.

Did I mention kuchen? In fact, 500 peach kuchen are sold and eaten every year at Schmeckfest, and that is only one of the flavors they make!

Back in 1959, the Freeman Junior College Women's Auxiliary wanted to throw a 10th-anniversary commemoration, featuring traditional foods from the three Mennonite ethnic groups in the area, the Hutterish, Swiss and Low Germans. Fittingly, they named it Schmeckfest, or "festival of tasting". They planned for 200 people and 1,000 showed up!

Schmeckfest has evolved into a two-weekend fundraising festival with proceeds benefiting Freeman Academy. It still features some of the most delicious food around and also a musical starring community members. It is about food, yes, but also fellowship, heritage, and community.

This year Schmeckfest is celebrating its 61st anniversary and if you haven't gone before there are a few things you should know. It is coming up in Freeman, on the Freeman Academy campus, on Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30 and also April 5 and 6.

There are tons of activities in addition to the traditional buffet meal and theater production. This year it is the Broadway musical The Boyfriend. The meal is served from 3:45 to 7 each night. 1,000 tickets are available for each meal, you must buy them in advance, and the sooner the better!

There are food and craft demonstrations, a quilt raffle, an art display, collector items, and t-shirts too. Last, but certainly not least, you can load up on your favorite Schmeckfest foods from the Country Kitchen like Peppernuts, pickles, cheese pockets, jams, jellies, of course, kuchen--and so much more.

For additional information regarding directions, locations for all the events, transportation and more see Schmeckfest online and the Schmeckfest Visitor guide, or call 605-648-3430.


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