WESTMINSTER — It started with a wedding party 15 years ago.
Jim and Charlotte Schmidt's wedding reception in December 1976 was a German party, complete with a German band, at the Elks Club.
The couple had so much fun that the next year, for their anniversary, they decided to have another German party, but this time open itto the public.
"We haven't missed a year in 15 years," Jim Schmidt said.
The 15th annual German Party lets loose with "gemutlichkeit," or "a good time," 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Friendly Farm Restaurant on Route 140.
"This year we decided to have the party at a new location to offer people more dance space and variety of activities," Schmidt said.
Previously, the party had been held at Frock's.
As usual, this party will feature a German menu that includes sour beef and dumplings, knackwurst, bierwurst, bratwurst, weisswurst,apples and red cabbage, winekraut, gingersnap gravy, assorted cold salads, breads and rolls, desserts and beverages.
After dinner, served 7 to 9 p.m., you can dance, beginning at 8 p.m., to the sounds ofthe Edelweiss Band from Washington. Come prepared to do the polka, waltz and Germany's own "Chicken Dance."
"The Chicken Dance is a relatively new kind of German dance where they make like a chicken," Schmidt explained.
You'll also be able to listen to traditional German songs by Willi Steinebrunner on the Alpine horn.
"They use the Alpine horn to call sheep," Schmidt said.
Jim Schmidt gets his heritage from his parents, who came to the United States from Germany. He was raised in New York, near Buffalo. Charlotte is a Westminster native.
The Schmidts and his daughter, Renee Brewer, solely sponsored the parties for the first 10 years. Proceeds from the event went toa different charity every year.
"We gave to the Heart Association, a state trooper's widow, Alzheimer's Association, the Retarded Citizens Association -- somebody different each year," Schmidt said.
Five years ago, Schmidt asked the Valley Lions Club, of which he is a member, if it would like to sponsor the party and receive the proceeds. The club agreed and has been sponsor since.
"The Lions Club puts money back into the community, mostly to help the blind," Schmidt said.
"We enjoy seeing people having a good time and helping out the community at the same time."
You don't have to be German to attend the German Party. If you like to sample other cultures and cuisine, this party is for you.
"It's great fun, especially if you love to sing and dance," Schmidt said.
Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the door, although advance reservations are recommended.
Information: 848-6472 or 876-3859.