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Welding students craft giant "blumenkrantz" for Alpenfest Parade

A piece of the blumenkrantz float built by welding students at Kirtland Community College in Gaylord.

OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Inside Kirtland Community College in Gaylord, students and staff are gearing up for Alpenfest.

"What I'm wearing is a blumenkrantz,” said Director of Kirtland M-TEC Luann Mabarak while showing off her German headgear.

Blumenkrantz means "flower wreath" in German, and is commonly worn by women during Alpenfest. Mabarak and her staff were coming up with ideas for a Kirtland Community College float for the parade, when they had an idea.

"It was actually one of my staff members who said, ‘hey, can our talented welding program, could someone actually fabricate a blumenkrantz?'," Mabarak recalled.

“My boss came up to me and said 'Hey, we’re gonna build a blumenkrantz, and I'm like, 'whats a blumenkrantz?'," student and part time employee Ryan Jacob said with a chuckle. Jacob along with fellow student employee Jeff Komondy and their instructor, were given the task of building a parade float designed around the traditional flower wreath, but they didn’t have much time.

“We pretty much had three weeks to get it done," Jacob said. "So from the time we got here 'till the time we had to go home we worked on it.”

“I just helped them along the way, whatever they needed I was there to get for them," said Kirtland College Welding Instructor Daron Shimel. "Three weeks later, we came up with this, which is pretty amazing.”

Together with the help of local businesses, the group is ready to debut their special project, and Shimel is hoping it’ll make quite the impression.

“As the float goes by in the parade, I hope people understand that 'hey, this was all steel. It was fabricated right here in town, it wasn't a big production, a year long event, it happened in a couple weeks,'" said Shimel.

You can catch the Kirtland blumenkrantz at the Alpenfest Gaylord Art Van Parade which takes place Saturday, July 15 at 12:00 p.m. in Gaylord.

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