Ambassador Wittig Visits Cincinnati
Enlarge image Ambassador Wittig at Great American Ballpark. (© Germany.info )
Ambassador Peter Wittig travelled to Cincinnati, Ohio over the weekend for a very special reason: to throw out the first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. The Cincinnati Reds, the oldest professional baseball team in the MLB, host an annual German Heritage Day in honor of the city’s roots. The event is dubbed “Redstoberfest,” because it is always held right before Octoberfest Zinzinnati.
Cincinnati is a city full of German heritage. Over a hundred years ago, German immigrants settled the city because the canals and Ohio River reminded them of their homes in the Rhine Valley in Germany. Today, the city is home to dozens of German-American companies and has one of the most prolific sister cities exchanges with the Bavarian city Munich.
Ambassador Wittig was welcomed to Cincinnati by the Honorary Consul Martin Wilhelmy. It was his first official visit to the city as Ambassador, though he was in Ohio earlier this year meeting with Governor John Kasich. The Deputy Chief of Mission, Philipp Ackermann, was in Cincinnati earlier this summer to celebrate 50 years of sister cities with a delegation from Munich.
Enlarge image Ambassador Wittig taking a tour through the Over the Rhine neighborhood with Honorary Consul Martin Wilhelmy. (© Germany.info) While in Cincinnati, Ambassador Wittig took a tour of the Contemporary Arts Center, which was designed by architect Zaha Hadid and is currently run by a German immigrant, Raphaela Platow. He then spoke at an event organized by the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council and attended by prominent members of the Cincinnati political and education scenes.
On Saturday, German-American historian Dr. Don Tolzmann gave Ambassador Wittig a tour of the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, which was once filled with crime but is now one of the most vibrant communities in the city. It is also famous for its many breweries, many of which trace their roots back to German immigrants. At the end of the tour, Ambassador Wittig was greeted by Greg Hardman, owner of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., one of Ohio’s biggest brewies. He also received a pair of Lederhosen from Wiesnkoenig USA, which has a store at the Moerlein brewery and is the only official retailer of Lederhosen in the US.
Enlarge image (© Germany.info) As his last stop in Cincinnati, Ambassador Wittig threw out the first pitch at the Reds-Brewers game at Great American Ballpark. Even the mascots were in dirndls and lederhosen for the event. Donald Lutz, the first German to play in the Major Leagues and a Cincinnati Reds outfielder, couldn’t be at the game due to injury, but his best friend Ryan LaMarre played catcher for the Ambassador. In total, over 25,000 guests attended the game.