“Luxembourg Fall Harvest Fest”
Picnic Grounds – All Saints Polish National Catholic Cathedral
9201 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631
“Schobermesse” is an annual Luxembourg Fall Harvest Fest celebrated by the Chicago Luxembourg American community. Guests and visitors are welcome to attend. As a harvest time fest, Schobermesse is celebrated on a Sunday near Labor Day.
Schobermesse was founded in 1903 by Section Three (Rogers Park) of the Luxembourg Brotherhood of America (LBA) in Chicago. The founders of the Schobermesse were Luxembourg immigrants and their children who recalled the annual festival in Luxembourg known as “Schueberfouer.” Schueberfouer began in 1340 as the Shepherd’s Fair and was founded by a Count of Luxembourg, known as John the Blind (1310-1346). He is best remembered for starting the now famous festival.
Since many of the Luxembourgers on the north side of Chicago were truck farmers and greenhouse workers, Schobermesse became an opportunity to show off their flowers and vegetables and to enter into competitions.
Madeleine Simon enjoying some of the delicious food at Schobermesse
In the early years, Schobermesse was held in the vicinity of Ridge and Pratt Avenues in Chicago. However over the years it was relocated to Morton Grove, Chicago, Lincolnwood, and Skokie. It currently is held in the Picnic Grounds at All Saints Polish National Catholic Cathedral on Higgins Road, near O’Hare Airport.
Over the years Schobermesse included parades, decorated wagons and cars, music and dancing, children’s games, card playing, socializing, and plenty of food and beer! Each Schobermesse included a commemorative program filled with articles, photos, and advertising reflecting Luxembourg topics and people. These Schobermesse programs are invaluable research materials for genealogists and historians studying Chicago’s Luxembourg community and Luxembourg heritage throughout the United States.
Enjoying Luxembourgish Food and Friendship
Schobermesse continued to be a mainstay celebration of Luxembourg heritage in Chicago until its demise in 1967. Changing times and a diminished focus on traditions and ethnic heritage seemed to bring a permanent end to the Schobermesse.
With the start of the 21st century, Section 3 of the Luxembourg Brotherhood of America rekindled the Schobermesse in 2001. About 100 people attended this first attempt to give new life to Schobermesse. Participants shared memories of past Schobermesses as well as family connections and other history. This effort gave way to a renewed commitment to an annual celebration of Schobermesse.
Gerda Hansen leading the sheep in the traditional
Hammelsmarch Procession at Schobermesse
Since that time, Schobermesse continues to grow and flourish as an annual event. It includes food, drink, music, children’s games, heritage information, raffles, etc. Schobermesse now draws hundreds of people and carries on the long tradition of this beloved ethnic celebration. All are invited and welcome to attend!
For the date of the next Schobermesse, visit the LACS Calendar of Events or contact George Meyers at 773-274-7271.
Kids having a blast at Schobermesse!