The 6th annual Eintracht Männerchor Schützenfest will take place on August 20 at the Eintracht Picnic Ground on McKee Crossing Road in Neshannock Township.
Schützenfest, a German shooting festival, has been popular in Germany for centuries. It was launched in the New Castle area six years ago after Männerchor director Dan Forsberg heard about it in Germany.
The legend behind it is that, in a small German village, a child was attacked by an eagle, and a sniper shot the eagle and saved the boy’s life, and was proclaimed a hero. Thereafter, the local towns and villages all sought to have marksmanship training and competition for their men to serve as protectors against any evil caused by man or beast.
The competitions have evolved into elaborate festivals that include pageantry, music, parades, food and drink with the eventual goal of crowning a king – a Schützenkönig – and more recently, possibly a queen.
The local party is open to club members and non-members. The rifles used are .22 caliber rifles with open sights or iron sights. No scopes, special sights or slings are allowed.
Interested applicants can register at the Eintracht Männerchor Club at 108 Taylor St., or at the door by purchasing a ticket. Only 100 tickets are available, so early registration is recommended. Registration includes fees of $25 per adult and $15 per junior.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. on the day of the event, and filming begins at 10 a.m. sharp
The contest involves the shooter aiming at three targets from three poses, standing, kneeling, and prone, with five shots from each position.
In the adult division, the König or Königen (king or queen) is the shooter with the highest score and is awarded a royal medallion, a traveling trophy beer mug, and the grand prize.
Each of the three finalists is called Knights or Ritters and receives pins and prizes recognizing their skills. Last year, Eintracht Schützenkönig was Grove City’s Bret Adams, who is the first three-time winner of the title. He will attempt to defend his crown again at this year’s event.
Junior shooters under the age of 16 are encouraged to compete. This is the second year for the Junior Shooters division. Participants must hold a hunter’s safety certificate or have a parent directly supervising them.
They will have the opportunity to compete for the title of Schützen Prinz. First prize is a Savage Mark II lock action. 22 caliber rifle. The Prinz will also receive a German Prinz Medal.
The next three places are the Ritters or Knights and will receive Ritter pins and awards.
Another highlight of the festival is the shooting of the Schiesen Scheiben, wooden plates with images of wild game and outdoor themes on them.
Shooters pay extra to shoot the plates. Whoever gets closest to the target wins the plaque and will have their name inscribed on it like a precious trophy.
Finally, there is the shooting of the Holtzvogel, a wooden eagle. Shooters take turns trying to shoot parts of the bird in the specific order of wings, legs, scepter, crown, and tail. Each part drawn wins a prize for that shooter.
Grand prizes are offered by Duke’s Gun Shop on Route 422 in Shenango Township.
Lunch will be offered after the awards ceremony. Coffee and donuts will also be served. No alcohol will be served or consumed before the end of filming.
More information about the event and registration is available by calling (724) 946-3749.