Once Upon a Time in Germantown
Enlarge image Germantown’s history is stepped in German culture, first settled by immigrants from the Palatinate Region in the 18th century. (© GKNY) Three hundred years ago, 2,400 Germans from the Palatinate Region of Germany sailed up the Hudson from New York City, where they had been shipped from London and Portsmouth in an fleet of 12 ships carrying pine and pitch for the Royal Navy. For the German immigrants of the Rhine River region, who were fleeing the troops of France’s Louis XIV, the Hudson River was like the "father" Rhine, making them feel somehow at home in New York towns such as Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff or Germantown.
The first German settlers arrived October 2, 1710 in the "East Camp," now known as Germantown, New York. Starting October 2, 2010, Germantown celebrated this historic arrival with a history workshop attended by 300 renowned genealogists and historians from the United States and Europe, as well as a Gala Palatine Concert highlighting the world premiere of "The Palatine Cantata" for singers and orchestra by Maestro Harold Harberman, a Germantown citizen, founder and director of the Conductors Institute at Bard College.
The Concert Gala was opened by Dr. Thietmar Bachmann, Head of the Cultural Department of the Consulate General in New York, on Germany’s national holiday, October 3.
The festivities will continue through the weekend of October 8 - 10. Following the celebrations focused mainly on the town’s history and culture, the second weekend is geared towards families, with a wagon parade and the Palatine Oktoberfest, combined with the yearly Germantown Harvest Festival.