The city of Quakenbrueck, Germany, recently celebrated 25 years of its sister-city relationship with Conway.
More than a thousand people gathered for an all-day family festival. Conway was represented by Wayne Oudekerk, professor of German at Hendrix College, and Susan and Charlie DeBoard of Conway.
Conway and Quakenbrueck’s sister-city relationship was established in 1985, and Conway saw its first visitors from the German city in 1986. Since 1992, Dr. Oudekerk has been taking groups of Hendrix students to Quakenbrueck, where the students stay with host families and experience German life. Groups of high school students from Conway High School and the Quakenbrueck Artland Gymnasium (high school) have also participated in exchanges, staying with host families and experiencing the culture of another country. Several of those attending the festival mentioned how much they’d enjoyed hosting Americans and visiting Conway.
The festival was sponsored by the German-American club in Quakenbrueck with a theme of building bridges across the Atlantic. The festival included a brass band, a Dixieland jazz band and line dancing. The mayor of Quakenbrueck, Wolfgang Becker, gave special thanks to the German-American club "for the many initiatives and events and the promotion of school and student exchanges which have contributed so much to creating a new tradition of friendship between Quakenbrueck and our sister city Conway."
"I hope many more people from Conway will get to experience the incredible warmth and the wonderful hospitality of the people of Quakenbrueck," Oudekerk said.
This year, Quakenbrueck is also celebrating the 775th anniversary of the founding of the city. It is a city of 13,000 located in northern Germany, not far from the Dutch border. The name of the town comes from the croaking sound of a frog (quaken in German).