A Guide for Women Going to Gaufest
Not sure how to dress for Gaufest? This is a simple guide to help those who are unsure what to wear and what is appropriate for an event as important as Gaufest. Besides having your club uniform, you’ll also want an outfit for the informal nights and to wear around the festival. We highly recommend not wearing jeans but dress in a dirndl or lederhosen.
What is Gaufest?
The first ever Gau organization started in America in 1914 with the Schuhplattler-Verein Edelweiß of Chicago. From there it grew into the very first Gaufest, held in Newark, in 1967. It was a gathering of around 1200 people, from Canada and from all over the United States, all there to celebrate their heritage. There was a huge banquet on Saturday night, and afterwards a dance competition. There were guest speakers and dancing throughout the entire festival, making it a huge success.
Now, Gaufest is a 4-day festival that takes place every odd numbered year. Attractions include: The exciting Preisplatteln, many different kinds of workshops, and the big banquet.
General Tracht Guidelines
Tracht derives from the verb Tragen, which means “to wear”. Tracht is a traditional style of dress, dating back to the mid 1800’s. These guidelines can be used to help you with basic attire, but please refer to your specific club for the requirements.
Hats are always green and always worn, even in Church. The hat can be adorned with items at the choosing of the individual such as feathers or flowers. For festivals like Gaufest or other occasions, the wearer can decide a on a flower or feather can be tucked into the cord on the left side. Specific feathers indicate what position you have within your German group so please ask your trachtenmother for direction on which to buy.
Black mieder tops are halter vest style tops with silver chains and silver hooks. These are traditionally made with satin fabric and include boning to give you the proper structure and posture to dance. Mieder tops are adorned with chain that is laced differently depending on club preferences. They also include pins and are sometimes draped with a shawl.
Only real flowers are to be placed in the front of their mieder. Typically clubs choose a specific type of flower like carnations and the color that they all uniformly wear.
All skirts are traditionally around the same length for Gaufest. Approximately 15 inches off of the floor. Having a different length could dock you that much needed points! Skirts are usually fuller so that you get the perfect bell shape when you spin. Please remember to order “dancers fullness” when placing your order for your gaufest skirt. Another option is to have extra hem added. This weighs down the hem of the skirt and allows for a better bell shape. Traditionally, Tracht skirts also have two or three black stripes along the bottom of the skirt. While this is standard for most clubs, some clubs prefer to have the number of stripes indicate your relationship status. Two strips for the single dancers, three for married!
Shawls and Aprons
Shawls are usually the made from a silky fabric and pinned at the shoulders. They are almost always soft in color. Aprons are necessary for any tracht outfit. We have many styles so please check your club standards before purchasing. In adition, shawl pins and apron pins can be seen at Gaufest and are usually club specific.
Blouses are always white, with short sleeves. The neckline is usually square, and the lace around it is your club’s choice. We have a variety to pick from but most clubs like our “Tracht” blouse. This can be in a short length or long length. Because your dirndl is over the bottom of the blouse, others can not tell what you are wearing.
Sheer stockings are allowed but should only be worn if it matches the rest of your club. White knee length socks are typically worn while competing. Traditionally women wear white, knitted stockings, with the pattern varying.
In North America, the rules are a little more lenient due to pricing on traditional shoes. The shoes you wear must give the appearance of the traditional shoe, and always be black. Making sure they are polished and clean is a must. You must make sure to put your best foot forward!
As long as it is traditional and conforms with the club rules. most types of jewelry should be acceptable. Popular charms include those with bone or edelweiss. Mainly wear silver colored jewelry, as this is what they used back in the 1800’s.
Never wear any nail polish. The main goal is to look as uniform as possible when in tracht outfits. However, women are allowed very simple makeup such as blush, and light neutral lip stick.
For more information, visit Gaufest’s official website!