For the second year in a row, Heimatfest was blessed with gorgeous weather and large crowds.
Jordan’s annual city festival began Friday night with the classic car cruise. The sun shone down on more than 290 cars that rolled through downtown Jordan, as residents watched from the sidewalk in rows of lawn chairs, sipping cool drinks and enjoying fresh food.
Near the front of the car cruise was John Engfer in his 1941 Cadillac Series 62 sedan — a car he’s owned since 1956.
“It’s my honeymoon car,” Engfer said. “I’ve still got the same car and same wife.”
The car retains its original mohair interior. Engfer said upkeep is pretty simple since he keeps it in storage and a high tech paint maintains the car’s luster.
“All I did on this one was dust it off before I came down,” Engfer said.
During the car show, the Jordan Historical Society museum was open to the public. The museum houses Loren Habegger’s refurbished 1930 Ford Model A and 1909 Ford Model T. The museum itself is the site of Habegger’s former garage. The old Heimatfest banner that once hung across downtown streets was also on display in the museum.
The festivities continued into the evening as food and drinks were served and live music was provided by IV Play. The Tuxedo Band entertained festival-goers the following night.
Saturday awoke to a brisk start with the Run of the Mill 5K race and the Half-Mile Family Fun Run. The annual Heimatfest parade followed. The grand marshal of the parade was Distinguished Service Award recipient Liz Thaves, who led the parade 20 years ago with her late husband, Keith.
Following the parade, festivities settled in Lagoon Park for the rest of the day, where there was hot food, cold beer, kids games and a full slate of contests and activities.
In honor of the city’s German heritage, several rounds of hammerschlagen were played. The traditional game has participants compete against each other to drive nails into a wooden beam in the fewest strokes. Ultimately, Mark Elsenpeter was named champion. Elsenpeter, a carpenter by trade, said he hasn’t played much hammerschlagen, but years of wielding a hammer served him well.
Before Heimatfest’s signature brat eating contest, kids took the stage to compete in a hot dog eating contest that some say stole the show Saturday afternoon. In a field of six hungry competitors, 13-year-old Justin Weierke came out on top not only by establishing an early lead, but by setting a Heimatfest record as the first person to put down five hot dogs — buns and all — in eight minutes.
“Slow and steady,” Weirke said.
The three-man brat eating competition that followed was a much closer race, with Anthony Kuechle finishing about seven-and-a-half brats in 10 minutes — just a hair ahead of Duran Glazek and a couple brats ahead of former champion Greg McBride.
Kuechle didn’t have many words to share about his preparation for the contest, since he didn’t plan on participating. But he ate a full meal of steak and potatoes a few hours earlier, for what it’s worth.
At 3 p.m., Mayor Tanya Velishek took the stage to welcome the crowd and award the 2018-19 Miss Jordan, Charlotte Zent, with a key to the city.
“You have been a great Jordan ambassador, a woman of leadership,” Velishek said. “You were able to represent Jordan in a beautiful way ... You learned to speak in front of all these people and you are fabulous. You carry it here and you’ll carry it forever.”
Following Zent’s recognition, the three candidates for the 2019-20 crown were brought on stage. Princesses and ambassadors from surrounding communities, as well as Aquatennial Queen Elise Toussaint, were in attendance.
Miss Jordan candidates Rei Garlick and Ashlee Finger were brought on stage and named Jordan princesses. Both said their favorite thing about Jordan is how welcoming and friendly the community is.
Ariana Velishek, daughter of Tanya Velishek and Armando Yzaguirre, was named Miss Jordan. Velishek said she loves seeing everyone come together for the Heimatfest car cruise, parade and fireworks.
“I want to thank everyone for coming to Heimatfest and for the Commercial Club for giving me the opportunity to represent Jordan,” Ariana Velishek said. “I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day and night, thank you.”
Heimatfest chairman David Holzer said the festival was well-received this year.
“It’s been very good this year, the weather has been good,” Holzer said. “Last night we had an excellent turnout with our car cruise ... Even at the end of the day you can tell people are getting tired but they still stick around watch it all.”