The German Canadian Harmonie Club has become a haven where its 240 members can come together and celebrate their heritage in the Okanagan.
“They came together in 1964 and they decided they needed the German culture to be here in Kelowna and they started out very small,” said club president Christa Gendemann.
It started with only a couple of dozen members back then, and 55 years later, the club has revived itself by opening its doors to weddings, dances and concerts while still hosting regular card games.
“We (have) reversed from being really busy at one time, to regressing, to again progressing now,” said club vice-president Margaret Oesterle. “We invite not just Germans to this club. We also invite other nationalities — that wasn’t always the case, either, and they also now feel welcome.
“We are getting new members constantly, which means the club is living again. A lot of clubs have died over the years, in different provinces — the German clubs don’t exist anymore.”
Some of the members feel as if the club is a place where the next generation can learn about their culture and heritage beyond the Second World War.
“We have had a bad history as Germans, but we have overcome and made amends with the world and so, therefore, we need to be proud and pass it on,” said club director Rose Marie Rossdeutscher.
To celebrate 55 years as an organization, the German Canadian Harmonie Club is celebrating in true German fashion, with a beer festival.
The beer fest will take place at the German Candian Harmonie Club on Cary Road on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.