News and Updates


Daily log of changes to state-qualifier list


Houstonfest Scholarships: Winners Posted


Scholarships at State


What's new for 2020


Arrival at Heights High School


Lunch options


Plays will be performed at Houstonfest


Teacher-to-Teacher Tips


Tips for Pair Discussion


Photo Gallery 2014



Important Dates


Fri., Jan. 17, 2020:  Regular deadline to submit registration spreadsheet in order to pay regular price of $10/student (payment does not have to be mailed until 1/27).


Mon., Jan. 27, 2020:  Final deadline to submit registration spreadsheet for late price of $12/student and deadline to postmark payment.


Mon., Feb. 3, 2020 Proof sheet of entries sent to teachers for final verification and changes.


Tue., Feb. 4, 2020: Research Papers due to David Kniess by 11:59 p.m.


Wed., Feb. 5, 2020, 8:00 p.m. Deadline to submit changes (adds, drops, substitutions).  After this point, no more additions or substitutions will be allowed in individual events.  Substitutions in group events may continue in emergency situations.


Thur., Feb. 6, 2020: Videos due to Mark Johnson by 6:00 p.m.


Sat., Feb. 8, 2020 Houstonfest !


Fri., Feb. 14, 2020 State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. in order to qualify for early-bird price of $10 per student.  Online registrations submitted after this point incur the regular registration fee of $12 per student. Also, deadline to apply for the Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship.


Fri., Feb. 21, 2020 State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. (regular deadline). Also, postmark deadline for State payment, regardless of whether you completed your online registration by the early-bird or the regular deadline. Also, deadline to submit entries for promotional video contest to State director Jennifer Christianson.


Sat., Feb. 29, 2020:  Leap into the Texas State German Contest !


Sat., Mar. 7, 2020 Houstonfest Scholarship applications due.


Fri., Mar. 13, 2020:  Gail Cope Scholarship applications due.


Thur., April 30, 2020:  Gail Cope Spring Teacher Grant applications due.


Sun., Nov. 15, 2020:  Gail Cope Fall Teacher Grant applications due.

Changes to Rules and Procedures Effective for 2020


The changes described below flow from the Houstonfest steering-committee meeting held on April 27, 2019, and the State steering-committee meeting held in Houston on May 4, 2019.


  • There are actually very few changes for 2020.  Most of the items below are more about continuity than about change.

  • We have added one new event for 2020:  Timed Writing for Levels 1 and 2.  Each school may enter ONE student per level.  We are piloting this event, and the winners will NOT advance to State.  There will be two 30-minute sessions offered (8:30-9:00 and 9:00-9:30).  Contestants will have 25 minutes to write in response to a prompt.  The prompts will be level-appropriate and different for levels 1 and 2.  If you are interested in judging this event, let director Rustin Buck know.

  • We will continue to invite food trucks and have a concession stand to provide lunch.

  • Incentives for new schools to participate (continued from previous years): We will waive the registration fee for up to 5 students from any school that has not attended Houstonfest in the last 5 years, and new schools will pay the regular price of $10 for any students beyond the first 5, even if they enter during the "late" registration period. Also, teachers who are brand new to Houstonfest may request to be excused from judging for the first year so that they can move freely around the contest and see how things work. Contact director Rustin Buck to take advantage of these offers; the registration spreadsheet is not set up to reflect them.

  • We continue implementing the plan developed at the 2017 "folk dance summit" to establish a four-year rotation of different dance genres for the Einzeltanz contest. After featuring a Plattler and a Schottische in the past, we will feature a Ländler this year.  The dance instructions, the music, a video of the dance, and the revised critique sheet are posted here. One more new genre will be introduced in 2021, and then we will start the rotation over with the Plattler in 2022.

  • We finally have an official list of folk dances ranked according to difficulty, many of them with links to dance notes (instructions) and videos. This is a living list that will grow over time. If you want to perform a dance that is not currently on the list, the general procedure is to supply your regional director (Rustin Buck) with the dance notes and preferably also a video by November 1. Since that date had already sailed by this year before this was posted, we will be flexible with the deadline, but you do still need to submit any dances that you intend to perform in 2020 but that are not on the list for ranking as soon as possible.

  • Pass auf! updates: This is the fourth year that we will have an annual theme about which there will be at least one 50-point question per round. The theme for 2020 is German-Texans.

  • After a successful first year in 2019, we will continue to have an Advantaged Speaker Test for advantaged speakers only.  This is a long written test that encompasses the disciplines covered in all our other tests:  grammar, culture, listening, reading, vocabulary, and spelling.

  • We have clarified what was previously unspecified:  the time and line limits for Advantaged Speakers in Poetry and Prose Memory are the same as those for Levels 3 and 4.

  • For the third year, the State contest invites schools to submit a promotional video (1.5 to 2 minutes) to help us promote the contest system. Other than the time limit, itís wide-open as to what you put in it. The goal is to motivate someone (student or teacher) who has never been to German contest to want to come, so tell the world why you love German contest! Last yearís winner is posted on the State homepage. The top videos will be shown and voted on at the State awards assembly, and the winning entry will receive a cash prize of $250. The deadline to submit a video to State director Jennifer Christianson is Friday, February 21, 2020 -- see the State website (first link above) for the rules and submission procedure.

When is the next Houstonfest?



February 6, 2021


Where is Houstonfest?


Heights High School

413 E. 13th Street

Houston, TX 77008


Link to Texas State German Contest


Texas State German Contest on Facebook