G. A. F. Society

G. A. F. Society

G. A. F. Society logo

G. A. F. Society
P.O. Box 167561
Oregon, OH 43616
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Phone: 419-691-6114
Email: Email us
Website: http://www.gafsociety.org


41.7078803-83.4256643 G. A. F. Society
P.O. Box 167561
Oregon, OH 43616
Get Directions
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"The purpose of the G.A.F. Society is to promote a better understanding of German and Swiss Culture and to establish a German-Swiss Cultural Center."

In 1966, representatives of the seven German and Swiss Societies: American Turners-Toledo, Bavarian Benevolent Society (now the Bayerischer Unterst?tzungsverein), Bavarian Sports Club, Greater Beneficial Union-District 510, Teutonia M?nnerchor of Toledo, Toledo Schwaben Unterst?tzungsverein, and the Toledo United Swiss met to discuss the possibility of having a "Continental Day" to bring together those of German and Swiss heritage. The result of these discussions was a two-day event named "German-American Festival."

The first German-American Festival was held at Raceway Park in Toledo on August 27 and 28, 1966. It was held there until 1974. Festivals were then held at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee until 1986. In 1987, the Festival was moved to Oak Shade Grove which became its permanent home. In 1969, the Festival was extended to three days.

The German-American Festival was the first large-scale ethnic event in Toledo. In the years to come, it was copied by other ethnic societies, but the GAF has remained the area's oldest, largest and greatest Festival!
The first Festival was a big success as the American public welcomed the event. Its popularity nowadays is best reflected by the number of visitors to the Festival held at Oak Shade Grove ? one of the most beautiful Festival settings anywhere!

The G.A.F. Society was formed by the seven Societies in December 1966. Encouraged by the success of the first event, the members agreed to hold further German-American Festivals. In January 1967, the G.A.F. Society was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of the State of Ohio. Ohio law was changed to permit our incorporation. In March 1971, the G.A.F. Society was determined to be a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service under IRC ?501(c)(3). There is no other similar unified German and Swiss organization in the United States.

The intent of the founders of the G.A.F. Society was to establish a German-American cultural center with profits from the German-American Festivals; to dedicate itself to the purpose of perpetuating cultural, athletic and scholastic achievement and in so doing would make sure that the seven Societies would have a home and never lose their identity.

In the search for a home, the 35 acre Eischen's Grove, in Oregon, was purchased in 1969. The property was renamed Oak Shade Grove. This purchase was the first piece in creating the German-Swiss Cultural Center and was the start of our existence in Oregon. It was an important undertaking by the members of the G.A.F. Society who built a hall on the property in the early 1970s and made numerous improvements over the years.

About 3,000 volunteers: members and non-members, make the Festival possible every year. The Society exists because of the unity of the members of the G.A.F. Society: Together, Germans, Swiss and Americans now are upholding culture and traditions of yesteryear.

Additionally, the G.A.F. Society makes int facilities available for rental.