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Travel Channel´s Samantha Brown named
Grand Marshal of German-American Steuben Parade
Organizers expect 25 groups from Germany - Parade to be held on September 17 - PBS affiliates broadcast live from Fifth Avenue
With just a few months to go until the 54th Annual German-American Steuben Parade, the Parade Committee has named the Grand Marshals leading this year´s event. They include Samantha Brown, the popular host of Travel Channel´s "Passport to Europe", as well as Ilse Aigner, German Secretary of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection, Erik Bettermann, Director of Deutsche Welle, and the newly installed German Ambassador to the United States, Peter Ammon.
"We are proud to have such a great group of Grand Marshals," said Steuben Parade General Chairman, Lars Halter. For many years, the Parade Committee has given the honorary title to German-Americans from all walks of life to honor their achievements or contributions to the ongoing German-American friendship. In recent years, Grand Marshals of the Steuben Parade have included former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, the legendary Dr. Ruth Westheimer, New York legends Donald Trump and George Steinbrenner, actor Eric Braeden, super model Carol Alt, entertainers Siegfried & Roy, and many more.
Parade Chairman Halter appreciates the various backgrounds of this year´s Grand Marshals. "Samantha Brown is not only of German ancestry," he said, "but she is building bridges between the US and Germany in her travel programs that have inspired numerous Americans to travel to Germany, Austria and Switzerland." Originally from Dallas/Texas, Ms. Brown became a host on the Travel Channel in 1999 and has since then produced TV programs from around the world, including the series "Girl Meets Hawaii" and themed specials like "Great Cruises" on board the Freedom of the Seas, and "Passport to Green Getaways" on eco-friendly tourism.
Ilse Aigner had a background in telecommunications and helicopter electric systems before running for political office in 1994, when she was first elected to the Bavarian State Parliament. Just four years later, she carried her district with absolute majority to win a seat in the German Bundestag, where she held different positions. In October 2008, Ms. Aigner succeeded the newly elected Governor of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, to become Secretary of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection in the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Recently, Ms. Aigner has worked towards stopping price inflation in the food sector and limiting ATM fees in Germany.
Peter Ammon has just recently been installed as the new German Ambassador to the United States, succeeding Steuben Parade friend and former Grand Marshal, Klaus Scharioth. Ammon, who holds a Doctorate in Economics from Berlin's Free University, most recently served as State Secretary at the Foreign Office. Born 1952 in Frankfurt/Main, he has close ties to the US through family relations and long-standing friendships. From 1999 to 2001, he served at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. as Economic Minister. In 2007 and 2008, he was appointed German Ambassador to Paris, France. Prior to that he served as a career diplomat in London; Dakar/Senegal; and New Delhi. Ambassador Ammon is an avid hiker and fan of the music and poetry of Bob Dylan.
Erik Bettermann is the Indendant (Director) of Deutsche Welle, Germany´s influential international broadcaster. Founded in 1953 during the administration of President Theodor Heuss, Deutsche Welle immediately took on the global market, broadcasting in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese within one year after its initial program. Since then, the station has broadcast TV and Radio programs in dozens of languages to serve people on all five continents, including Persian, Serbo-Croatian, Swahili, Hindi, Urdu, and Pashtu. For hundreds of thousands of Americans of German descent, Deutsche Welle is the main link to the old country, the to-go-station for news and sports. Before starting his tenure as Director of Deutsche Welle, Mr. Bettermann served as Chief-of-Staff to the Vice President in the German Bundestag and, later, as Senator in the Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen. He is a frequent traveler and already looking forward to the Steuben Parade in 2011 and 2012, the latter of which he is planning to attend with a Mardi Gras delegation from his hometown of Cologne.
Other than the Grand Marshals, the Steuben Parade has plenty in store for spectators on Fifth Avenue. Organizers are expecting almost 25 groups from Germany and Austria to participate in the event, mostly music and dance groups as well as groups wearing "Tracht", the regional garb traditionally worn in many German regions. Among the many groups marching in this year´s Parade is a large delegation of the "Technisches Hilfswerk" (THW), the all-volunteer disaster relief organization under auspices of the Department of the Interior. The THW delegation will be led by President Albrecht Broemme. It commemorates two recent events that have brought the German organization to the US to help with the clean-up: the terror attacks of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
Other highlights of the upcoming Steuben Parade include a tribute to legendary singer and songwriter John Denver, who was of German descent, and floats celebrating other great German-Americans and their contributions to the American Way of Life.
The Steuben Parade is named after General Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian Officer who joined General George Washington´s troops in the Winter of 1777 in Valley Forge. It was his training of the troops that enabled the young American forces to beat the British in the Revolutionary War.
The 54th Annual German-American Steuben Parade will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011, starting at 11.30 AM. The Parade will move up Fifth Avenue between 67th and 86th Street with the Grand Stand and bleachers located on 79th Street. Tickets for the bleachers are still available at www.GermanParadeNYC.org/store - of course, viewing the Steuben Parade from the Street is entirely free. Tickets are needed, however, for the Oktoberfest in Central Park. Among the highlights here is the 3rd Annual US Championship in Masskrugstemmen (mug stemming) presented by Hofbräu.
This year´s German-American Steuben Parade will be broadcast on different PBS affiliates. New York based station WNET (Channel 13) will broadcast live on Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 12 Noon to 2 PM with a repeat planned on WLIW the day after. Other PBS affiliates throughout the United States have shown interest in the broadcast, too. However, dates and times are not yet confirmed.
For more information on the Steuben Parade, please "friend" the General at www.facebook.com/Steuben for regular updates on events and other news.