Trunken müssen wir alle sein! / Jugend ist Trunkenheit ohne Wein; / Trinkt sich das Alter wieder zu Jugend, / So ist es wundervolle Tugend. / Für Sorgen sorgt das liebe Leben, / Und Sorgenbrecher sind die Reben.(Drunk! We should all be drunk! / Youth is intoxication without wine; / If old age can drink itself back to youth, / that's a marvellous virtue. / Trouble is part of our precious life, / and vineyards counteract trouble and strife.)
I paid a preliminary visit the premises of Ottawa's Maple Leaf Almrausch Club yesterday, shall be going there again in a month or so. It's 15 minutes from the eastern edge of town, down the 417, Exit 104.
I was amused to find that Goethe poem in Gothic script on the wall of its Europahalle, liberally hung with flags. Downstairs is the Schenke (taproom) with long wooden tables and corner booths. Here's where you'd pick up your tankard of beer and sway to the music. On the top level is an indoor rifle shooting range offering noisy target practice, and outside are the soccer fields.
Almrausch is a word meaning Alpine rose (a kind of azalea native to the Alps). In 1964, when the Maple Leaf Soccer Club and the Almrausch Bavarian folk dance Group decided to amalgamate, the result was the Maple Leaf – Almrausch Club Inc. The new Club obtained a plot of land and built their chalet-type Clubhouse. Spring is celebrated here with a Maifest (May Day Festival) and autumn with a traditional Oktoberfest. The Club also holds dance parties: the Schuhplattler musicians and dancers stage a Bavarian Festival every spring; the Schützen (Shooters) present the Schützenfest (Shooters Festival) in the spring and the Jägerball (Hunters’ Ball) in the fall. The Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) takes place every year on the third weekend in November, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the Schenke you can order snacks, or hearty meals (Gulasch, sausages, etc.) well as cakes, coffee and Glühwein. A Schnitzel Dinner is offered to members and non-members on the third Friday of every month from January to April.
You don't need to be a German immigrant in order to enjoy this place, but it helps.