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The last time Deutschtown held a German parade, the mayor led the procession down East Ohio Street on horseback. And not the mayor of Pittsburgh, either.
That was 1904, three years before Allegheny City (now the Northside) was annexed by its larger sister across the Allegheny River.
Now, 105 years later, the Alliance of Germanic Societies of Pittsburgh is staging another German parade on September 12 in celebration of the neighborhood’s German heritage.
Beginning at the corner of East Ohio Street and Cedar Avenue near East Park at 6 p.m., the parade will wind down East Ohio Street, turn left onto Madison Avenue and then right onto Phineas Street where the public is invited to attend a German heritage celebration in the Teutonia Männerchor building.
The parade will feature classic German cars, folk dancing groups, several traditional singing societies and German honorees.
Before the parade, the public is welcomed to a German/English ecumenical service at St. Peter’s Church on Arch Street. German singing societies will sing traditional hymns.
The heritage celebration in the Sangerhalle at Teutonia Männerchor features German-American dance groups and singing groups and will recognize both the historic German-American of the year and the current German-American of the year. Music will include Blas Kapelle from Youngstown, Oh.
The heritage celebration costs $10 in advance per person or $12 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Bistro-to-Go, Priory Fine Pastries and The Priory Hotel.
A buffet at the Teutonia Männerchor, featuring traditional German cuisine, will cost attendees $15.95 per person.
The German population largely immigrated here in the late 1800s. People from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with many different spoken dialects settled in the Deutschtown area of Allegheny City.
At that time there were about 15 singing societies, representing many regions of German-speaking Europe.
There were many German breweries and restaurants in the area at the time, like Sebastian Haid’s Brewery on what is now Route 28 and the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery at the corner of Troy Hill Road and Vinial Street. German parades were a common feature of the community.
During World War I and II, most German-Americans kept a lower profile, and hence German parades and celebrations became rare occasions that have never regained their earlier prestige.