The very first Schmeckfest began as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Freeman Junior College Women's Auxiliary. A special meal was planned to involve the traditional dishes from each of the three Mennonite ethnic groups in the area- the Hutterish, Swiss, and Low Germans. It was decided that the name of the event would reflect the variety of foods: Schmeckfest, or "festival of tasting." The ladies of the auxiliary planned on 200 people. In the spring of 1959, over a thousand people showed up for the first Schmeckfest
In the decades since then, Schmeckfest has evolved to make it into the tradition we see today. In 1960, it was lengthened to 2 days in order to feed the demand for meal tickets. The response was so overwhelming year after year that in 1973, Schmeckfest became a 3-day event. Still, the celebration continued to grow. In 2005, the decision was made to make Schmeckfest extend over 2 consecutive weekends in March or April.