It's the end of April, which means a hectic time of year is looming over German Village and the Haus und Garten Tour is only a few short weeks away. This is an exciting time to walk the streets of German Village. The energy is kinetic, the streets feel alive and the air is abuzz.

It's the end of April, which means a hectic time of year is looming over German Village and the Haus und Garten Tour is only a few short weeks away. This is an exciting time to walk the streets of German Village. The energy is kinetic, the streets feel alive and the air is abuzz.

Villagers don't walk in the spring - they bustle. Villagers don't simply plant in the spring - they arrange window boxes, organize pristine gardens, support rambling, wild-looking flowers in the alleys and coordinate car-stopping planters on Third Street. Villagers don't just volunteer in the spring - they keep the wheels of German Village in constant motion.

The German Village Society's calendar of events (available at www.germanvillage.com) needs its own Filofax organizer this time of year; there really are just too many to keep up with. But the social butterflies in every one of us somehow manage to fit plant sales, "spot" dinners, Village Singers rehearsals, committee meetings and yard-sale preparations into our weekly routines.

Each event depends on members and residents. We don't just do these things for fun. We do them because they are successful, enjoyable, anticipated and, at this point, traditions that keep the neighborhood vibrant. They're also fun.

It all leads up to the 52nd annual Haus und Garten Tour. This year's theme is "Celebrating the FUN (Friends und Neighbors) of German Village" and its chair is Chris Hune, with neighborhood veteran Pat Gramelt serving as honorary chair.

Having worked with Chris when she chaired the society's historic preservation committee, I know her to be a project leader and highly skilled at recognizing and utilizing peoples' strengths. I have absolutely no doubt that she's way, way on top of this tour. The fact that she's served on the tour committee for years helps a lot, too.

Having worked every Tuesday morning for four years with Pat Gramelt, I know her to be extremely conscious of others, generous with her time and a motivated neighbor always willingto lend a hand, particularly when the society comes calling. How else could we have been so lucky to have Pat volunteer at each and every Haus und Garten Tour? We know the stories of Frank Fetch, but Pat knew him. And I know the stories behind a lot of houses in German Village, but Pat knows many, many more. I can vividly remember her calling one day to ask about a house and casually throwing in that she was married in the living room because it was the home in which she was raised.

This year's tour has organization, precision and tradition. It celebrates history, a conviviality for which the neighborhood is known throughout Columbus and the army of volunteers it takes to make the tour a success year after year.

The neighborhood is so lucky to have had residents like Elnora Fetch, Shirley Keintz and Pat Gramelt in our little corner of the world. (I think we all know it was the wives who organized the earliest tours.) Our tourgoers are lucky, too, since the last Sunday of June is marked on most calendars with a trip to German Village. "Always the last Sunday in June" became a mantra for me while working in the Meeting Haus. In fact, this spring when I was planning my daughter's christening, the date that worked best was June 26. My first thought was, "but that's tour." I guess we'll make that work somehow.

German Village has benefitted from the success of the tour in so many ways, but most importantly, it lets us tell our story time and again, each time a little differently, but no less accurately. It is by sharing our roots that they become stronger and it is by sharing our neighborhood that our history is showcased, celebrated and made all the more lasting.

Here's to a wildly successful 52nd tour! And, incidentally, tickets are on sale, so bustle on over to the Meeting Haus or visit www.germanvillage.com to get yours.

Jody Graichen is director of historic preservation programs for the German Village Society.