The German-American Club of Topeka (GACOT), also known as the Edelweiss Verein, held its first meeting in March 1982 at the home of Hannelore (Wansing) Herman in Topeka. Hannelore, a native of Sinn, a small town by the Westerwald in the State of Hessen in Germany who came to the United States in 1958, was elected to serve as the first President of the club.
The purpose of the club is to promote German culture in social as well as other activities. It serves as a bit of "Heimat" (home) to native Germans, teaches the old traditions, and serves to bring the German culture to all others who are interested.
GACOT membership is comprised of native-born Germans, second-generation Germans, and others with an interest in Germany and the Germanic heritage. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month. A short program follows each business meeting. A time is also set aside to visit. The meetings are conducted in English, but one always has the opportunity to converse in German at any time.
The two major social functions are: 1) Fasching, a pre-Lenten costume ball 2) Oktoberfest, a fall festival
German music and German food are provided at each of these events, which are open to the public. Oktoberfest is our only money maker of the year. We have given donations to several organizations throughout our 30 year history and are proud to continue that tradition. The club also sponsors various small dances, picnics, bus trips for the membership and their guests. We also participate in some community activities.
Das Edelweiss Blatt is the newsletter published by GACOT and mailed to its members outlining club activities and functions as well as those of other German-American clubs in the near vicinity.
If you are interested and want to know more about GACOT, we welcome you to attend any of our monthly meetings. Come by and get acquainted with the members. Meetings are held at 7:00 pm on the first Thursday of each month in the rear of the Lawyers Title Building 5715 SW 21st Street, Topeka, KS 66604.