Worthington, Crailsheim marking 70 years of sister city friendship
WORTHINGTON — The year 1947 was when Worthington and Crailsheim became official sister cities.
Now, 70 years later, the two communities are celebrating this relationship overseas in Crailsheim, as an act of kindness by Theodora Cashel and her daughter Martha back in the late 1940s turned empathy on one side and gratitude on the other into a strong friendship. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary, 120 individuals — including members of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band — are taking on a journey across the Atlantic to join the Crailsheimers and their “Stadtkapelle” band in a double celebration of the anniversary and the annual Cultural Weekend, which will take place from Thursday through July 23.
On Wednesday night, the Amazing Worthington City Band wrapped up its 124th season in Chautauqua Park and celebrated its kickoff for traveling to Crailsheim. Eager to take on a musical adventure next Friday and Sunday in Crailsheim, the two bands have prepared some pieces for the mutual concert. The Worthington band will perform in two concerts during the Cultural Weekend and perform with the “Stadtkapelle” in one of them.
This upcoming Tuesday, the Worthington delegation will off to Crailsheim, and they’ll arrive Wednesday night at the Volksfestplatz. There will be a total of 120 travelers, including the city band and exchange students Grace Moody of Worthington and Johanna Andrejew of Crailsheim.
A city tour through Crailsheim and a common lunch before the two bands rehearse together will on Thursday. That same night, the 22nd “Crailsheimer Kulturwochenende” (Cultural Weekend) will have its traditional opening ceremony in the “Spital ark.” The Worthington delegation will be sent off on its weekend by getting the chance to see several “backstage tours” of corporations in Crailsheim. Visitors and the band from overseas are invited to the halls of Crailsheim’s City Hall for the welcoming ceremony Friday night. The anniversary concert of the “Amazing” Worthington City Band and the Stadtkapelle will be celebrated that same night on Crailsheim’s Schlossplatz.
There will be plenty of free time to enjoy the cultural weekend with artists, music, theater and art. This year’s motto for the weekend is “A lot of lightness,” as regional artists performing traditional folk songs mixed with new beats are featured along with international opera singers and city bands.
Worthington’s musicians will perform another time that weekend during a Sunday morning concert matinee. The Worthington contingent will also get to know German culture and cuisine during its stay, visiting the old Wuerzburg castle and going on a cruise along the river. They also plan to dine in an authentic German restaurant in Crailsheim, experience German pizza and enjoy a barbeque with the traditional city band.
On occasion of the anniversary, the sister city committee in Crailsheim has assembled an exhibition about “70 years of Exchange.” Former exchange students of past years contributed their “favorite souvenirs” of Worthington and donated them to the exhibition. The treasures of seven decades of friendship between Worthington and Crailsheim can now be admired in Crailsheim’s city museum.
Old and new faces will be seen around Crailsheim next week. For Grace Moody, the new Exchange Student to Crailsheim, an exciting time lies ahead — just like it did for Gene Janssen and Ed Blair, the very first student ambassadors from Worthington in 1956-57, 60 years ago. Now, six decades after Janssen spent a year in Crailsheim, he joins the Worthington delegation for another visit to his second home in Germany, and many more will also do so.
Becoming an official sister city was a process with lengths. The idea of adopting a war-torn European city of a similar size and population was introduced by the Cashel family in 1946. After several months of waiting for a response from American and German officials, the good news went public in 1947. Worthington had a sister city — a town in southern Germany. Its name: Crailsheim.
The first exchange of letters between city officials in both towns happened in July 1947. Commemorated by the “Amazing” Worthington City Band and the Crailsheimer Stadtkapelle, they’ll play tunes like “Old Comrades” and “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” on Friday while marking the day of first contact between the two cities.