DIXON – The Dixon Sister Cities Association recently returned from a trip to Herzberg, Germany, with a delegation helping to foster a relationship spanning 23 years between the two cities.
The 22 travelers ranged in age from 2 to 83 advocating for international ties and experiencing a new culture while representing the Sauk Valley area.
“It was an exciting time for some in the group, because it was their first trip to Germany; it was a fascinating time for everyone in the group because of the five well-planned regional excursions prepared for the Americans by the city of Herzberg,” Sister Cities Secretary David Nelson said.
Events during the week included being the guests of an authentic Octoberfest party in a local restaurant, as well as trips to Potsdam, Wittenberg and Torgau.
The association has been trying to draw in younger members and also offers scholarships.
The organizations alternate visits every two years or so. It’s been five years since Dixon sent a delegation because of delays from the coronavirus pandemic.
Herzberg will likely send a delegation to Dixon in 2024, which will mark the 25-year anniversary of the partnership between the sister cities.
The group was also featured in the local newspaper, the Herzberger Rundschau.
Sister Cities President Jodi Monk said by staying with host families, they had insight into their daily life and culture.
Monk presented the town mayor, Buergermeister Karsten Eule-Pruetz, with an official Dixon flag as well as a downtown Dixon banner with petunias. The flag was a gift on behalf of Mayor Li Arellano Jr., and it was flown alongside the Herzberg flag for eight days commemorating the visit.
“By this action, Buergermeister Karsten Eule-Pruetz signaled that he wanted his city to be fully aware and directly involved in the visit,” Nelson said. “Indeed they were, by welcoming all Dixon visitors as overnight guests in their homes for eight nights.”
“The Herzberg mayor demonstrated his personal commitment to honor the longstanding partnership with the Americans, by meeting with them several times, often using English with them at the city hall, the Oktoberfest party, the farewell potluck, and in conversations with individuals while traveling as part of the group for an entire day during one excursion,” Nelson said.
The visit spanned from Sept. 16-24, and members recounted their experiences during the group’s annual meeting last week.
The Dixon Sister Cities Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes creating and strengthening partnerships between Dixon and international communities in a effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic growth and development, trade and tourism.
Nelson said Herzberg is the group’s closest sister city relationship. The other three sister cities are Dikson, Russia; Castlebar, Ireland; and Thika, Kenya.