Western Piedmont Sister Cities Host Family Reunites in Altenburger Land, Germany with Colleagues They Home Hosted

Hickory, NC…..As a nod to German heritage in the Greater Hickory Metro Region, Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association (WPSCA) has been working with their partners in Altenburger Land for over 30 years to establish long term people-to-people connections between those living and working in the Western Piedmont region in North Carolina and those living and working in the Altenburger Land region in Germany.  Over the years, the two regions have participated in several programs together including in person and virtual exchanges and meetings with their colleagues in education, business and economic development, governmental affairs and emergency services, arts, theater and music, non-profits and civic organizations, sports and tourism, youth groups and programs among many other joint areas of interest.

This past year, a delegation from Altenburger Land visited the 4-county region of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties in celebration of the 30-year partnership that exists between the two regions.  They participated in discussions centered around business, economic development, government, tourism, emergency services and renewable energy.  The Greater Hickory Metro Region was very fortunate that the delegation also consisted of 3 young musicians and their 2 music teachers who graciously performed at 3 different public locations while they were visiting the area, including an outdoor performance that kicked off the start of Oktoberfest weekend.  As part of the 2023 Oktoberfest celebration, Oktoberfest visitors were able to meet members of the delegation and the two regions took part in a joint beer swap where City Walk Brewing & Distillery (this region’s newest brewery) and Altenburger Brauerei (their region’s oldest brewery) traded beer recipes and brewed them in their respective breweries for the community to sample and enjoy during the month of October here and the month of April there.  Bastian Leikeim, owner of Altenburger Brauerei is scheduled to visit Hickory this October and attend the Oktoberfest festivities to continue his partnership with Zack and Tucker Cranford, owners of City Walk Brewing & Distilling.

From L to R: Sebastian Hoerle, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Delegation and Head of Rescue Service Association of East Thuringia
Florian Bubinger, Rescue Service Association of East Thuringia
Nancy Meek, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Hickory Home Host for Sebastian Hoerle and Florian Bubinger
Bob Meek, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Hickory Home Host for Sebastian Hoerle and Florian Bubinger
Michael Apel, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Delegation and Head of Economic Development, Business, Culture & Tourism, Altenburger Land
Mariana Graichen, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Delegation and Tourism Association of Altenburger Land
Karsten Siegel, WPSCA 30th Anniversary Delegation and Head of Information Technology (IT), Altenburger Land & Former Employee, Administration, Altenburger Land. 1998 Administration Exchange Participant with David Hill (Administration & HR, Caldwell County)Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

There are plans for a delegation from the Western Piedmont area to visit their colleagues in Altenburger Land, Germany in August 2025.  If you are interested in participating in this exchange or getting involved with upcoming WPSCA programs, contact Tracey Trimble, WPSCA Chair & Catawba Co. designee directly at  ttrimble@hickoryfurniture.com or 704-502-5932.