Richmond, September 18, 2022 – A glorious summer day in Richmond, British Columbia, was the backdrop to the 50th Anniversary of the Austria Vancouver Club. The Austria Vancouver Club was founded by 18 Austrian immigrants and was registered in Victoria, capital of British Columbia) on December 16, 1971 under the Society Act of British Columbia. The celebration was held in the club with a sold out hall. Someone walking past me stated that he hadn’t seen this many people in the club in years – not even on New Year’s Eve!
The doors opened on the dot of 12 noon, where a line had already formed and was waiting at least 20 minutes in the warm sunshine.
The opening ceremonies were planned for 1 pm. At 2 pm, it was finally lunch time, with further entertainment after the luncheon. The only tables that were reserved were for the VIP guests, such as Justin Hoffman, the President of the Board of the Vancouver Alpen Club and Norman Laube, the Honorary Vice Consul of British Columbia & Yukon. There was also a short speech by Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond.
Other people at the table were Kecia Boecking, the President of the Eurofest BC Society, Martin Kral & wife Karen, from the Austrian Club of Washington, USA and yours truly, Westcoast German News. Beatrice Schreiber, the President of the German Canadian Business Association was unable to make it due to illness.
The food was sitting in front of us – a typical Austrian Meat and Cheese Board (Brettljause) – but we were asked to wait until the break to eat. On top of the Brettljause, was a “Trattenbacher Taschenfeitel), a pocket knife ordered directly from Austria.
The Trattenbacher Taschenfeitel (also called Trattenbacher Zauckerl) is an Austrian pocket knife with a centuries-old manufacturing tradition. Place of manufacture is the Trattenbach valley in Upper Austria. We ordered the Feitel directly from the factory and had it engraved. The fact that these knives were made from Scharsach steel is particularly noteworthy, since at the time this steel was largely reserved for weapon and scythe manufacture.
The hall was also nicely decorated with Al Pichler on the accordion to entertain the crowds.
Below is a picture of President of the Austria Vancouver Club Andreas (Andy) Köchl, then Steven Seewald of the Alpenplattler (Schuhplattler) Group next to Mayor Brodie. After that is a couple who drove all the way up from Washington, Martin Kral and Karen, to extend their congratulations and best wishes to the Austria Club.
The crowd was also entertained by the AVC Melody Choir, with conductor Helga Belluz and pianist Joshua Tanuwijaya.
There were speeches:
There was time for the crowds to enjoy the accordion and dance:
Kecia Boecking and her mother enjoying the event.
All guests were given one cutting board, one unique Austrian foldable cheese knife, one beerstein and one program guide to take home.
I was at this event thanks to the invitation from Martina Mitterer, secretary of the Austria Vancouver Club, shown here with her husband Heribert Mitterer, the cultural director.
Al Pichler played for hours, and got a lot of feet moving!
Kecia and I by the stage and next to us is a photo of the Schuhplattler group just about to make their way to the dance floor.
The AVC Edelweiss Dancers did an amazing job, although I got them on video. To see short video clips of this event, check out my TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@porterprvancouver. As far as I could tell, the youngest Schuhplattler was fourteen years old.
What was very special to me was that my daughter came along and enjoyed herself thanks to the friendly outgoing people at her table who made her feel welcome. She was asked to join the Schuhplattler group by at least three people and was asked to dance more than once! I really liked when in one of the speeches, someone said “We hope to see young people sitting here in another 50 years celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Club!”
Let’s make it happen!
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