Labor Day Bridge Walk -- In Frankenmuth!

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Aug. 25, 2014 - PRLog -- – If you want to participate in a traditional Labor Day bridge walk but are unable to join the usual crowd traversing Michigan’s five-mile-long Mighty Mac, you just might want to join the Tiny and Dorothy Zehnder family for their annual Labor Day walk across the Holz-Brücke Covered Bridge in nearby Frankenmuth. The historic, hand-constructed wooden bridge across the Cass River serves as the main entrance to the iconic Bavarian Inn Lodge ( The walk is a celebration of the painstaking labor and “little miracle” it took to make the bridge a reality.

The annual event has been taking place since the mid-80’s and was started by Frankenmuth residents Al and Louise Schneider. In keeping with custom, the walk will begin at 12 noon on the east side of the bridge, Sept. 1. The five-minute walk concludes at the Fischer Platz outdoor entertainment café, located at the southwest corner of the Bavarian Inn Restaurant ( next to the Glockenspiel where participants can choose to enjoy delicious fare and entertainment.

“The Labor Day bridge walk reminds us of the vision and determination of our family through the years and inspires all of us to do our best to help our guests enjoy the uniqueness of Frankenmuth as we mark the unofficial ending of summer,” said Bavarian Inn Restaurant President Bill Zehnder.

The 230-ton, 239-foot covered bridge was built by the family corporation with Tiny and his brother Eddie Zehnder managing the project. It originally linked the Bavarian Inn complex with additional parking across the Cass River, but became the gateway to the Bavarian Inn Lodge in 1986. New Hampshire bridge builder Milton Grāton, along with his son and grandson, hand-crafted the bridge over the course of a year with wood that originated in Oregon and Alpena, Michigan.

The bridge was originally constructed on a rise of land east of the river, and later moved to its home over the Cass River. That arduous process required a capstan, which was turned by nearly everyone in town — plus a team of champion oxen — over the course of several days during a particularly cold January in 1980.

As the story goes, media was on hand to cover the bridge’s final installation. As the capstan was to be turned one final time — with cameras rolling — it didn’t budge, but was frozen in place. As the local pastor from St. Lorenz started to give the benediction, the bridge broke free of the ice and inched into place. “It was a miracle,” remembers Dorothy. Afterward, everyone in town joined in a gratitude-inspired chicken dinner.

Over the years, the walk commemorating the building of the bridge has grown into an annual celebration with hundreds of participants including members from the local Gemuetlichkeit Club, an American-German cultural group that celebrates Bavarian culture with special events throughout the year.

About Bavarian Inn Celebrating 125 years of service in 2013, the Bavarian Inn Restaurant has become a Michigan landmark. Generations of diners, lodgers and tourists from around the globe have discovered true Bavarian hospitality thanks to Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder. Guests experience the old-world European charm of the Bavarian Inn – whether it’s the famous chicken dinners, fresh baked goods or Michigan’s greatest selection of German beer. Bavarian Inn also prides itself on being one of the top consumers of Pure Michigan agricultural products. Nestled within a backdrop of authentic German architecture, a variety of shops and other fun activities, a trip to Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to the Bavarian Inn. Learn more at

[Press Room:]

About Bavarian Inn Lodge: ( Nestled along the Cass River in one of Michigan’s top tourist attractions – Frankenmuth – is the state’s largest Indoor Water Park Hotel! The Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, four indoor pools, two water slides, three whirlpools, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants — all under one roof. The expansive 35,000 square feet Family Fun Center houses over 100 video and redemption games, a two-story children’s play village and Willy’s Kingdom indoor mini-golf course. In 28 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening, along with its top rating on TripAdvisor®. [Press Room:]

Media contact: Sue Voyles, 734.667.2005 /
Source:Bavarian Inn Lodge
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