200 Take Part in Volksmarch in Burke

200 Take Part in Volksmarch in Burke

Bob Westin, left, showing off his one-man instrument.

Bob Westin, left, showing off his one-man instrument.

— On Saturday, Sept. 16, the eighth annual Volksmarch of Accotink Unitarian


Photos by Robert Healy

Organizers take a break from cooking bratwurst on the grill.

Universalist Church was held in Burke. Participants enjoyed a crisp fall day filled with hiking, music and bicycles. The scent of cooking bratwursts permeated the air, while polka music played in the background.

More than 200 people including organizers and walkers were involved. Some 160 bicyclists and walkers covered either a 5k or 10k course. The stroll along the hills and shores of Burke Lake offered a relaxing experience for all those involved.

Similar walks take place all over the world coinciding with the German tradition of Oktoberfest. Hikes bring together family and friends to enjoy the


Photo by Robert Healy

Bob Westin explains the one-man instrument he plays.

great outdoors.

More than 3,500 of these walks take place here in the United States, and many more in countries such as Taiwan, Estonia and France. Collecting and trading pins and badges is one of the experiences walkers can share. Rebecca Mackey spoke of how she had received a homemade button comprising safety pins following her completion of the Taiwanese Volksmarch.

The event is sponsored by the American Volkssport Association, the Northern Virginia Volksmarchers and Potomac Pedalers Touring Club. Other hikes by the American Volkssport Association have occurred in Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park. Parks like these and that of Burke Lake, offer a beautiful backdrop for walkers and riders alike.

Marchers come together to share stories about other Volksmarches and enjoy food, beer and music like those in Germany.

Jim Truscott, who has been coming to the Burke Lake Volksmarch since its inception in 2009, shared a story about a 100 Kilometer French hike in which all competitors had completed the course with a heavy rock in their backpack. Hikes can vary in length and difficulty but provide an excellent opportunity to relax outside with family members and friends.