We are the Kölsche Funke rut-wieß vun 1823, Die Rote Funken New York 1961 Karneval Society, brother society of the Kölsche Funke rut-wieß in Köln. The Kölsche Funke rut-wieß New York was the idea of a German immigrant named Kurt Felten. Kurt, a former member of the Kölsche Funke Karneval Society in Köln, contacted the original Society in Köln and asked for permission to use the same name, uniform and the rules and regulations. But it was only after long negotiations with Köln's City Hall that the original Society gave Kurt the green light to form the Society in New York. On October 14, 1961, at the Forester Rendesvous in Yorkville the Kölsche Funke rut-weiß vun 1823, Die Rote Funken New York was born. Twenty-one German immigrants elected Kurt to be the first Chairman of the Society. The Funken now existed with no uniforms, no material and no money. The Brother Society in Köln did not provide any of these things. The hard work, financial support and private contacts in Köln of Kurt and his men made it possible to build our Karneval Society. Mr. Karl Ehmer, owner of the Karl Ehmer Pork Stores, supported the Society. For over 30 years he provided the float in the German- American Steuben Parade. Currently our float has been sponsored by our friends at the Forest Pork Stores and our new float was sponsored by a Karneval favorite Berentzen Apfel Korn. As is customary in Germany to throw "Kamele" from our floats, Haribo has donated the well known and loved Gummi Bears.
During the past 42 years there have been many highs and very many lows, but some how the Funken managed to grow and have gained recognition from other Societies. Our reputation grows year to year. Proudly we look to our numerous friends from Societies from all around the world, many of these friends come to visit us every year. They march with us in The German- American Steuben Parade, which takes place every third Saturday in September. In return we visit them in their home countries.
Within the New York metropolitan area the Karneval or Mardi Gras season is unthinkable without the Kölsche Funke rut-wieß New York. We feel obliged to offer our friends in New York some hours of fun and the original spirit of the Rhine River Valley. Our friends look forward to our annual Grand Masquerade Ball. We believe that they enjoy being with us, as we enjoy being with them. There's something great about this friendship and we will strive to keep it alive.
We are very active in the New York German- American community with several of our members on the German-American Steuben Parade's Executive Committee, among other distinguished posts. Our Funkenmariechen consist of former German-American Steuben Parade Princess, Gottesche Queen, Plattdütsche Princesses and Queen.