“The delegation from our Sister City of Bad Königshofen, Germany, was delighted to visit the International Bowling Museum Campus,” said Sherri Capehart, the Arlington councilwoman who accompanied the group and called the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame a ‘”hidden gem.”
When nearly 40 residents of Bad Königshofen, Germany, visited sister city Arlington, Texas, in early September, the International Bowling Campus wasn't the first stop on their five-day tour. That honor went to western wear outfitter Cavender's where the visitors bought their share of cowboy boots and other items. But soon thereafter, they spent plenty of time learning all about bowling at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame.
Arlington's sister city since 1951, Bad Königshofen is a town of about 7,000 people located in the center of Germany in the northern portion of the state of Bavaria. It lies about 100 miles northeast of Frankfurt.
“Bad Königshofen has a kegeling facility in their small town and as it happens they are planning to convert it to a bowling facility,” Capehart said. “That coincidence made their visit to the International Bowling facility more than just a visit. They were able to learn first hand the additional history of the sport and more importantly for them to experience bowling as they plan for their own facility. It was difficult for them to leave the bowling center because they were like sponges soaking everything up from the museum to the training center and the R&D. The center probably sealed the deal for the younger delegates in convincing the adults to convert the ‘kegel’ lanes to bowling lanes.”
Bad Königshofen has an ancient history dating back to the year 741. Mineral springs were discovered there in 1896 though only local residents knew of their healing properties. Originally known as Königshofen, it added the ‘Bad’ (Old) in 1974 after the development of several health resorts.
“We want to thank Councilwoman Capehart for bringing the group to visit us,” said IBM/HF Managing Director Eric Kearney. “We really enjoyed having them and hope that we helped inspire their enthusiasm to build their own bowling center in their town.”
Led by Bürgermeister (Mayor) Helbling and his wife, Sabine, the German visitors also visited Cowboys Stadium and Six Flags Over Texas. But they mostly wanted to focus on Arlington civic facilities like city hall, the library, animal shelter, police, fire, parks and water departments and the University of Texas-Arlington. They even sailed on yachts on Lake Arlington and swam in a pool named after their city.
“They all became kids again,” Capehart said.
The sister city visit wasn't the only chance for the IBM/HF to sample German culture this year. It will take part in the 2nd Annual Arlington Christkindl Market Nov. 29-Dec. 15 outside the Ballpark in Arlington. That event, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 people, will showcase German holiday heritage through the tradition of family markets held throughout Germany during the holiday season.
The IBM/HF will be one of many area organizations and businesses with tents featuring merchandise, food, beverages and entertainment. Twinkling lights and holiday sounds and smells also will be in abundance.
Posters with pictures and other references to Germany's relationship with bowling will be featured in the IBM/HF tent. There also will be coupons for discounted admission to the facility.
The IBM/HF will feature extended hours during the Christkindl as it will be open every day from 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
“We are extremely excited to be able to be a part of the unique Christkindl Market event,” Kearney said. “Germany played a large role in bowling's history and we're happy to be able to show the people attending what it's all about.”