Hickory – Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association (WPSCA) is hosting it’s first in-person official delegation from Altenburger Land, Germany since 2016. Due to the pandemic, their previously scheduled visit in October 2020 had to be postponed; however the delegation is looking forward to their rescheduled October 10-15 visit in celebration of their 30-year region-region partnership with WPSCA . Delegates will also be staying with local host families while they are here.

As part of the delegation’s visit, the business delegates will be meeting with leaders in our 4-county region to discuss economic and business development, emergency management services and renewable energy. There will also be three youth musicians and two music teachers traveling here as part of the delegation to perform for the public at 7pm on Wednesday, October 11 at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hickory, at 10:30am at Western Piedmont Council of Governments during their official 30th anniversary time capsule burial ceremony, and at 10:30am on Saturday, October 14 at Oktoberfest, opening up on the CommScope stage for the The Steubenville Tootlers, the popular Oktoberfest German Oompah band.

Another exciting addition to the 30th Anniversary festivities will be the first ever beer swap & recipe exchange between Hickory’s newest brewery, City Walk Brewing & Distilling, and Altenburg’s oldest brewery, Altenburger Braueri. The two breweries have met virtually, exchanged their signature beer recipes, converted the measurements to adapt to each country, and these special brews will be released to the public during Oktoberfest. City Walk Brewing & Distilling’s sister regional brew will be called Altenburger Land Festbier and Altenburger Braueri’s sister brew will be called Western Piedmont Ale. Make sure to stop by City Walk Brewing & Distilling Oktoberfest weekend to participate in their beer stein competitions and be one of the first to sample this new German brew. All ingredients were shipped in from Germany and made especially for our region.

WPSCA made international history by connecting four counties located within the Western Piedmont region of North Carolina (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba), together with the Altenburger Land, a region located in the central part of Germany in the former East German Federal State of Thuringia. Sister Cities programs promote peace and understanding through joint exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, sports, business and trade, government and municipalities, and community development, all of which are essential in creating, growing, and maintaining people-to-people relationships and diplomacy around the world. These programs and exchanges enrich the lives of many and provide cultural opportunities for those living in our four county communities. If you are interested in getting involved with WPSCA or participating in any of our delegation’s scheduled events, please contact Tracey Trimble, WPSCA Chair & Catawba County Designee at [email protected] or 704-502-5932.

Photo: Daniel, the brew master at City Walk Brewing & Distilling taking the very first drink from the very first batch of the special Altenburger Land Festbier that they just brewed as part of our sister region beer recipe swap. It will be officially released and available at their new brewery and distillery downtown during Oktoberfest weekend, October 13-15. City Walk Brewing & Distilling is not located in the Oktoberfest zone, but is located in downtown Hickory’s social district, just around the corner from City Hall.