While Oktoberfest events in the QC have been a longstanding tradition, this is the first year that German American Heritage Center of Davenport is partnering with Hauberg Estate in Rock Island to hold a big, beer-soaked bash on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the 1911 mansion and grounds, 1300 24th St., Rock Island.
The first-annual Oktoberfest Quad Cities will run 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., with kids’ activities offered from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a 1920s vintage football game kickoff at 2 p.m. Live music with the Guttenberg German Band (from Guttenberg, Iowa) begins at 5 p.m., and Die Musikmeisters (from Chicago) go on at 8 p.m. Food and German beer will be available for purchase. Wear your best Oktoberfest finery for a chance to be crowned King & Queen of Oktoberfest QC.
“We’ve been working on this for quite a while, about nine months,” Hauberg executive director Deb Kuntzi said Thursday. “More nonprofits need to partner with each other. We have all the room at Hauberg — the Carriage House, front yard, and Hauberg field. Why don’t we have it here?”
“We’re really thankful we can partner with German American Heritage Center; it’s a fun event,” she said. “It will be a fun, family event.”
Hauberg Estate, managed and operated by the Friends of Hauberg Civic Center Foundation, has been a community gathering place since 1911. Susanne Denkman-Hauberg and John Hauberg built the 20,000-square-foot mansion and 8,000-square-foot Carriage House on 10 acres — donated to the city of Rock Island in 1956 by their children John, Jr. and Catherine. And since the beginning, friends, family and the community have enjoyed the estate with its 5 ponds, 5-acre forest, 1-acre meadow, 3-acre Terraced Food Garden and Hauberg Field.
GAHC executive director Kelly Lao said Thursday they’ve never been able to have a full Oktoberfest event in prior years because of their limited space (in the restored 1870s-era, four-story building at 2nd and Gaines, Davenport). They’ve done small events (like “Cheers & Beers” tastings with local homebrew groups), and co-sponsored other Oktoberfests at other area locations.
“That was all we could manage at the time with two staff members,” Lao said, noting Bier Stube has hosted Oktoberfests in the past. “It’s really nice to work with Hauberg, because they are event planning professionals; that’s what they do. They have so much space. We have our parking lot and there’s no grass.”
Kuntzi approached her about hosting this year’s event. “We brought some things to the table, but she brought so much to the table. We brought the music and some ideas for fun activities to have,” she said.
The Guttenberg family band has played often in Davenport, including last Friday’s ribbon-cutting for the renovated Kaiserslautern Square downtown on East 3rd Street across from the Adler Theatre, at the same time GAHC hosted its Fall Frolic at the Outing Club.
For Oktoberfest, the Hauberg offers many more options for visitors – to be outside the whole time, go in the Carriage House (mainly for food and drink) or take a tour of the mansion, Lao said. “There are many different opportunities for people.”
“It’s so great to partner with other groups, because you can do things you wouldn’t be able to do by yourself,” Lao said. “We don’t have the manpower or the location, so it’s really great to be able to get together with other groups to make things happen.”
“We’re so small with our inside space, too, so it’s nice to be able to partner with other groups,” she said.
The Hauberg Carriage House was built in the style of a Hauberg barn in northern Germany, said GAHC assistant director Erika Holshoe. “It’s like this giant half-timbered barn, that is both communal living space and a barn, so you kinda lived with your livestock.”
Despite John Hauberg’s German heritage (and his countrymen’s love of alcohol), during the 1910s he was actively involved in the temperance movement in Rock Island County. Hauberg was elected in 1914 as the chairman of the Moline local option campaign, which lobbied to pass a local law outlawing liquor sales, and eventually served as the president of the Illinois Anti-Saloon League.
New first-floor gallery and Hauberg capital campaign
Lao and Holshoe earlier this year led the revamping of the GAHC first-floor gallery, with financial support from the Scott County Regional Authority. Two of the walls had carpeting on walls that was removed, and all walls were repainted to color complement the current exhibit (which opened in July), “Jugendstil: Art for All.”
At the turn of the 20th century, a new global art style called “Art Nouveau” swept through the world of art. Known as “Jugendstil” (meaning youth style) in Germany, artists challenged traditional art: exploring new mediums, sharing artistic ideas with fellow artists, and establishing the foundation for Bauhaus, Art Deco and other artistic movements, according to gahc.org.
The exhibit highlights Jugend (meaning “youth”) magazine, an influential German arts and literary magazine that operated from 1896-1940. It includes a touch-screen display where you can scroll through issues, and in the back of the gallery there’s a large rendering of an original 1896 cover, painted by Lao, the GAHC director.
“Jugendstil: Art for All” is included with general admission to the center, and is on display through Jan. 9, 2022. The Hauberg Center has launched a $350,000 capital campaign, to renovate the Carriage House into a private events center, meeting space and classrooms, and convert the terraced gardens into children’s art and educational gardens.
“It will be huge,” Kuntzi said of the plans. “We need to generate more money to take the pressure off the mansion, so we can have additional space to do things, have more programming.”
Friends of Hauberg already has received pledges and donations of about $160,000 for the campaign and they hope to start public fundraising in December.
The estate is open for docent-led tours every Friday at 1 p.m., with limited capacity, Kuntzi said. They are $10 per person, and free for children 12 and under. Later in November, Hauberg hopes to start new tours (“A Day in the Life of Catherine and Johnny”) geared to kids age 6-12, she said.
The Oct. 2 event vintage football game is a continuation of a tradition begun in 2015 at Rock Island’s Douglas Park, as the historic aficionados play as real Rock Island Independents and the Moline Universal Tractors.
The Independents (which played their first full season in 1907) in 1920 were welcomed into the newly formed American Professional Football Association; went on to produce four Hall of Fame members, and will be remembered for being one of the NFL’s charter members.
Lao said they expect Oktoberfest will be a big success and hope they can keep doing it at Hauberg in future years.
There will also be a 1920s antique car show. There’s free admission until 5 p.m., and after 5 p.m., admission is $10 in advance (available HERE) or $15 at the door, and free for kids 12 and under. For more information on Hauberg, visit haubergestate.org, and for GAHC, visit gahc.org.