Family, heritage, tradition lead Howard to CEC presidency
Family history, heritage and tradition were some of the driving forces leading Olivia Howard to the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival presidency.
The 64th annual Bavarian Festival kicks off at 4pm Thursday, June 8, and runs through Sunday afternoon with the parade, fielding nearly 100 units.
This year is also a milestone for the venerable event as it marks the 60th year of the Frankenmuth Civic Events Council (CEC), the caretakers of the fest since 1962 and the first Bavarian Princess, Kathy Uebler, was crowned in 1963.
For Howard, the journey to the top of the CEC organization began with family.
“When I was a little girl, it was always tradition to watch the parade on Sunday with my grandpa, Calvin Laux. He used to tell me that one day I would be riding on the princess float making them all proud,” Howard said. “When he passed away in 2010, I knew I wanted to be a part of the festival in his memory.”
A few years later, Howard was a member of the 2014 Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Princess Court.
ter my time on court, I saw all the awesome work that the CEC did, on top of the princess program, and I wanted to join. I have been a member of the CEC since 2015 and on the executive board since 2016. I have held the positions of director, secretary, second vice president, first vice president and now president,” Howard noted.
Olivia and her husband, Evan, have known each other since fifth grade and were married in August 2017. They have two children, Calvin, age 4, and Lorelei “Rori” Howard, age 1.
“There is something really special about the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival for me that combines family history and heritage and my love for helping and serving others. I was so honored to have been selected to head the 2023 Bavarian Festival and I cannot wait to share an Ein Prosit with all our guests!” Howard exclaimed.
Howard is currently employed at the Frankenmuth Credit Union in the operations support department.
Now that she is president, Howard looks back on her years building up to this point.
“I am very honored and blessed to have been a part of the CEC for almost a decade and to have worked my way to being president has been a goal of mine. The city, its history and heritage, have meant so much to me, that being able to throw a celebration of just that is amazing. It makes the event more special, because I get to do it with my husband and my two kids by my side the whole way,” Howard said.
Howard is also proud to celebrate the landmark anniversaries with the CEC and Princess Program. Howard separated the Princess Coronation Ball away from Festival week by holding it June 3 at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant – back where the Fest got its beginnings in 1959. Nearly 120 persons attended to see Dylan Abke crowned Princess and Danielle Rummel and Ella Smith the Court attendants. The CEC’s past presidents and directors were selected as the Sunday Parade grand marshals.
The Sunday Parade theme is “Rolling Out the Barrel for 60 Years” with Darcy Nickless-Berry the parade chairperson.
“This year, we have two film crews at the Bavarian Festival. Pure Michigan and the PBS show, Finding Festivals, will be featuring our event in upcoming productions.”
In addition to Howard, the 2022-23 CEC Board of Directors includes First Vice President Brooke Chaffee, Second Vice President Danielle Daugharty, Treasurer Evan Howard, Secretary Darcy Nickless-Berry, Parliamentarian Amanda Weiss, Immediate Past President Jeff Titsworth and Directors Alyssa Abke, Brian Burns, Julie Burns, John Daugharty, Mya Frysh, Shawn Marx, CJ Opperman, Derek Raymond, and Brent Weiss.
Thursday, June 8 will kick off the Fest beginning in Zehnder Park at 4pm. The Frankenmuth Lions Club will offer American-German fare beginning at 4pm. The Maibaum raising ceremony will take place at 6pm, followed by the Maibaum Dancers at 6:15pm, the Festival Olympics 7-8pm, the announcement of the Bavarian Princess at 8:20pm and the Opening Ceremonies and keg tapping, 8:30-9pm.
The Main Tent musical rotation will include Mollie B & Squeezebox with Ted Lange, Polka Riot! and the Da Frankenmuda Fratz’n. The three bands will share the stage, 5-11pm.
Friday, June 9 is the Street Party, with South Main Street closed 5-10pm between Covered Bridge Lane and Cass Street. Activities include the popular zip line, inflatable axe throwing, bounce house and rock wall.
The Street Party entertainment at the Chamber Platz will include Polka Riot! 5pm and 8pm and the Fratz’n at 7:30pm. Food trucks will also be downtown as well as the Frankenmuth High School DECA students selling bratwurst and hot dogs and the FHS German students offering pretzels.
In Zehnder Park, The Lions Club will have their booth open and the Frankenmuth Noon Rotary Club will begin serving barbecued chicken dinners at 5pm. The Maibaum Dancers will be in action at 6:20pm and 8:30pm.
The Main Tent will see Squeezebox, the New Brass Express and Fratz’n sharing stage space, 5pm until midnight.
The Rock Tent will be located behind Tiffany’s Food & Spirits and open 5pm until midnight. The Coleman Road Band will open at 5pm and headline The Sinclair’s Band performing 8pm until close.
Saturday, June 10 is kicked off with the Kindertag Parade starting at 10am at the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, with the Frankenmuth Morning Rotary Club’s Great Duck Race immediately following the parade. Face painting will take place all day on the Chamber Platz.
The Zehnder Park Main Tent will be open 11am until midnight and Lions Club will be serving food 11am until 11pm along with Kona Shaved Ice. The Maibaum Dancers will have performances at 1pm, 2pm, 4pm, 5pm and 7pm while the Frankenmuth Gemuetlichkeit Club will be on stage noon to 1pm, followed by the Frankentrost Band, 1:15-3pm. From 3:30pm until midnight, the Polka Brothers, New Brass Express and Fratz’n will provide musical entertainment on a rotating basis.
The Jameson Brothers will hit the Rock Tent stage at 6pm, followed by the Sinclair’s at 8pm. Also in the Rock Tent, RAD Tour Bike Ride registration will begin at 8am, Cornhole game registration will open at noon with competition at 1pm and food options will be available throughout town.
Sunday, June 11 the Bavarian Sunday Parade will begin at 1pm, with the parade route closing at 12:30pm on West Genesee, South Main and East Jefferson streets.
The Chamber Platz will have the DECA and German students selling brats, hot dogs, and pretzels along with Face Flair face painting and other food vendors.
For more information, visit www.bavarianfestival.org.
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