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Noem to attend Schmeckfest in Freeman

Steve Graber, front, and Kyle Waltner, both of Freeman, fry sliced potatoes as diners pile in for a traditional German meal during last year's Schmeckfest in Freeman. (Chris Mueller/Republic)

FREEMAN -- U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem will attend Schmeckfest Saturday in Freeman.

Noem will attend the meal, a full three-courses of traditional German-Russian food, and other festivities, which are scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m. Saturday. Noem plans to arrive at the event at about 4 p.m., according to a news release issued by her office on Friday.

Schmeckfest, which began Friday, is held on the campus of Freeman Academy, 748 S. Main Street in Freeman and will continue March 28 and 29. About 1,000 people are expected to attend each night of the four-night festival, according to Nathan Epp, president of the Freeman Academy Auxiliary. Epp said he and other organizers of the festival are thrilled by Noem’s plan to attend.

“It’s really exciting for this community and this event to be recognized in that way,”  Epp said.

The festival is meant to celebrate the heritage of Germans who emigrated to Russia, then to the U.S., many of whom eventually settled in the Freeman area. In its 56th consecutive year, the festival’s meal requires the work of about 250 volunteers, plus about another 100 volunteers to perform the musical, which this year is “Children of Eden.”

Schmeckfest is also a fundraiser for Freeman Academy, the town’s private Christian school.

Tickets for the meal, which are advance-order only, and musical held at the festival are available at