Jim and Charlotte Schmidt celebrate their wedding anniversary every year in the same way -- by throwing a German dinner dance that's open to the public.
This year's event -- from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Friendly Farm Restaurant in Westminster -- is the 16th annual party.
The affair features authentic German foods -- sour beef and dump lings, knackwurst and many other kind of "wurst," assorted desserts and German beer -- as well as the Edelweiss Band and Willie Steinebrunner and his Alpine horn.
"They use the Alpine horn to call sheep," Mr. Schmidt said.
Guests can dance the polka, waltz or do the relatively new German "Chicken Dance" to the music of the Washington-based Edelweiss Band.
Overnight reservations can be made through the Days Inn if guests are traveling some distance.
"This is new," said Lew Myers, in charge of reservations. "We've got people coming from North and South Carolina -- they have relatives in Sykesville, and they make it a family reunion.
"We have a Frederick group coming, people from Pennsylvania and the surrounding counties," Mr. Myers said.
Also this year, the Carroll County commissioners have proclaimed Saturday "German Recognition Day" in honor of the German heritage that the dance celebrates.
The Schmidts sponsored the first 10 German parties themselves and gave proceeds to the needy. The Valley Lions Club has sponsored the affair since then, using the proceeds for its health and welfare projects.
Tickets are $22.50 per person and must be ordered in advance. For reservations, call 848-1836.