EVTG History

On March 17, 1853, sixteen German-Americans founded a singing club in Wilmington, Delaware. Our parent organization on the Delaware Sängerbund was formed to provide camaraderie and social expression for families of German Ancestry. It has been in continuous existence since that time, making it one of the oldest continuous social clubs in the country. The DSB remained in the Wilmington location until the 1960’s when urban renewal required the club to move to the present Ogletown, Delaware location on which members built the authentically appointed “Bauernstube”, “Deutsche Halle”, parking and picnic facilities.

The Enzian Volkstanzgruppe was founded in 1968 by Margot and Richard Trager, Ingeborg (Margot’s sister) and George Keith, Helga and Karl Schulz, and Gisela and Tom Yost. The group organized in the interest of supporting the Delaware Sängerbund in preserving German customs and traditions within the community, and to perpetuate the Tracht, music and dance of Bavaria. None of the founders had any firsthand knowledge of folk dancing however, what lacked in knowledge was exceeded by determination. The first dance they learned is the Gebirgskinder Ländler which to this day, every new member must perform.

In January of 1969, George Keith wrote “History of the Enzian Tanzgruppe of Delaware” as the first formal entry in the record book of minutes for the group. It was signed by the original 4 couples plus 3 additional people, Fred and Linda Escheu, and Alberta Washburn, who attended the meeting that evening. Later that same year, we advertised for an accordionist who would play for our group without pay. Viola Palo, who is of Finnish descent, responded for this position, a Liebesdienst (service of love) that she carried out with dedication for over 30 years along with several other musicians joining her, namely Jim Hall and Steve Armstrong who is still our musician today. 1969 was a very active year for us as it brought forth the idea of learning Schuhplatteln; GTV Edelweiss, Reading, PA, was willing to teach us. Several members made the three hour trip to Reading every Friday evening to hone their skills. We and the members of GTV Edelweiss, our Paten Verein, became close friends and remain so, to this day. Our Kindergruppe was formed in the same year and many of those children, now adults, are still active to date (including Brian Schulz and Tommy Keith), incorporating second and third generation family members.

Enzian Volkstanzgruppe joined the Gauvorband Nordamerika in 1974, hosted the Delegates Meeting in 1978, 1996, and 2014. The year 1997 brought us to new heights,as we hosted Gaufest XVI under the big tent! We celebrated our 50th anniversary in September 2018. “Sitt ’ und Brauch der Alten Wollen Wir erhalten”.