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Dainty Fest returns to George Hauck Way

This year's festival is the first one without founder George Hauck in attendance. Hauck died last September.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 51st World Championship Dainty Contest and the crowd of competitors and supporters are back at George Hauck Way one year after the competition organizers had to relocate the festival and limit fans due the coronavirus pandemic.

"People really hold it near and dear to their hearts and say, 'I can't wait until that last Monday in July to have a bologna sandwich and a beer in the street,'" Schnitzelburg Area Community Council President Jennifer Chappell said.

The festival brings hundreds of people to the Schnitzelburg neighborhood for the World Championship Dainty Contest. The game dainty was believed to have been brought to America by German immigrants in the 1800s and was revived by George Hauck and Charlie Vettiner in the 1970s. The objective is to use a stick to hit a puck, called a dainty, into the air, and then hit the puck again when it's airborne as far as possible, all while using only one hand.

The competition usually takes place on George Hauck Way outside the old Hauck's handy store off Goss Avenue, with the street blocked off and filled with onlookers, vendors and food trucks. Some competitors come from out of town or even out of state to try their hand.

"I'm kind of nervous, but yeah, I'm ready," Dennis Foreman, who is visiting from Ohio, said. "Anytime you can get out with a bunch of people as an adult and play, it's a good time."

This year's festival is the first one without founder George Hauck in attendance. Hauck died last September. He was 100.

"This year without George, it is definitely different and it's been a little nervous going into this thinking that I hope I'm doing this right," Chappell said. "We're going to be playing tonight under the neon of the Hauck's sign, so that's going to be shining down on us."

According to Chappell, all competitors give a donation to The Little Sisters of the Poor, which was a cause close to George Hauck's heart.

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