G.T.E.V. (Gebirgs Trachten Erhaltungs Verein, roughly “Mountain Dress Preservation Society” in English) D’Fröhliche Schuhplattler was founded in 1976, when a group of ballroom dancers and friends began practicing Schuhplatteln (energetic Bavarian dancing) at the invitation of Betty Fritz, the club's founder, later named Ehrenvorstand (Honorary President). The group expanded as the first set of couples invited their children, other family members, and friends to join.
The group performed for many festivals, both in the St. Louis area and out of town. At an Oktoberfest in Terre Haute, Indiana, we met D’Oberlandler Milwaukee, another schuhplattler club. A friendship formed between the two clubs and members of D’Oberlandler introduced us to the Gauverband Nordamerika, an association of similar clubs across North America. Members of our group attended the 6. Gaufest in 1977, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After learning more about Bavarian culture and meeting the guidelines set by the Gauverband, we were officially recognized as members of the Gauverband Nordamerika in January, 1980.
In August, 1987, members of D’Fröhliche Schuhplattler traveled to Milwaukee for a Pattenbitten. We were honored that our friends of D’Oberlandler Milwaukee agreed to be our Patenverein (parent club).
With dedication and much hard work, on the weekend of May 27-29, 1988, we celebrated our Fahnenweihe (flag dedication). The flag (shown above) was blessed at the Old Cathedral located on the riverfront of downtown St. Louis. After the blessing, the trachtler paraded through downtown St. Louis with dancing of the “Gauplattler” surrounded by water fountains at the Martin D. May Amphitheatre. Ehrentanze was a special part of this spectacular weekend which included a banquet and dancing. Sunday’s picnic was held aboard the S.S. Admiral, a boat moored on the Mississippi River. All of the weekend’s events took place along the riverfront near the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch.
Our members continue to enjoy dancing both Schuhplattler and Volkstanzen. We learn new dances by attending the Bezirksheimatfests that are hosted each year by various Schuhplattler clubs in the Midwest.
We sponsor a yearly dance, the Herbstfest. The public is invited to join us for much Gemütlichkeit (roughly "good-fellowship" in English).
G.T.E.V. D’Fröhliche Schuhplattler