The birthplace of Levi Strauss is celebrating a major anniversary this year: Buttenheim, Bavaria in Germany turns 900 years old. The historic village boasts two breweries and the Levi Strauss Museum where guests can visit our founder’s restored childhood home. The town celebrated the milestone with music, merriment – and a special Levi Strauss memento.
Celebrations kicked off at the Levi Strauss Museum in the spring and are ongoing. Levi Strauss was the youngest child in a Jewish family and the museum opened an exhibit in March on Buttenheim’s Jewish history. “There are different celebrations in the village throughout the year,” says museum curator Tanja Roppelt, who has been planning anniversary events for the past few years.
In May, Buttenheim hosted a party and parade. The mayor and other government officials, children dressed in soccer uniforms, and even a local farmer driving his tractor hit the pavement for a procession that included a horse-drawn wagon toting a giant wooden beer barrel.
Guests wandered through booths and field activities. “One attraction was a tombola (basket that spins) with many interesting prizes,” says Tanja. “The first-prize winner won a short trip to San Francisco – from Levi’s old hometown to his new hometown, so to speak.” Entertainment also included a band decked out in traditional Bavarian attire: lederhosen.
Tanja reached out to me when envisioning a tiny memento for the occasion, a Levi Strauss Playmobil figure. We settled on the look with Levi in his suit, coat, and top hat holding a replica trading card from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives. The image features a miner holding a pick and dressed in copper-riveted overalls or blue jeans and a matching denim riveted jacket.
Among the other items to mark 900 years? A black and white Levi’s® Buttenheim T-shirt created by LS&Co. with the company’s familiar batwing symbol.
Happy birthday, Buttenheim!