Winterfest was started in 1972 by Glenda Keilstrup at the University of Texas at Arlington. It later moved to W.T. White High School. After several years there, it began rotating to Arlington Lamar, Plano Senior High, Paschal High School and W.T. White. With teachers who left the profession for retirement and other jobs, it ended up at Plano Senior High for several years. In 2012, it moved to R.L. Turner for 3 years, followed by Paschal High School for the next 3 years.
Between 500 and 700 students from 20-25 schools participate annually on the first Saturday in February. On that same day similar contests are held in the areas of San Antonio and Houston. On the last Saturday in February, the top five winners in each category from all three contests meet at Texas State University in San Marcos for the Texas State German Contest.
More than 90 schools and about 1500 students participate in the four contests in Texas each year. It is the largest and most active German contest system in the United States. The success of the contests is due in part to a tradition begun early 70 years ago in Austin at the University of Texas and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where high school students went to compete and the universities presented plays for them. Today college and university professors and students are judges. There are at least 135 judges at each competition.
Trophies and ribbons are given to the top 10 winners in each category. There are 36 categories and half of these have sections for each of the four levels of German studies. Here is the link to the Texas State German Contest, Inc, Incorporated in 2003 under The Texas State German Contests, Inc.
Click on the following links for more information regarding each regional contest: