See why we didn’t have to travel far to experience the colorful costumes, bratwurst, oompah bands, and yes … the famous “Chicken Dance”. We’ve a whole bunch of exclusive photos you’ve just got to see …
Girls from the German Saturday School of Portland show their fancy dance steps.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For about two decades, folks seeking the fun and festivity of the traditional Germanic Oktoberfest – but without driving many miles to get there – have been coming to historic Oaks Amusement Park each September.
The venerable park, which dates back to 1906, is now run by a nonprofit organization. Park spokesperson Emily Mackay contends that that status helps them keep Oktoberfest prices lower than found at similar events. “We want everyone to enjoy this celebration that German immigrants brought to America so long ago.”
Event hostess Emily Mackay welcomes all to the Oaks Park Zenner’s Oktoberfest Festal Hall.
Spencer, Nadia, and little Lina Rutkowski all enjoy a dance in the Oaks Park Oktoberfest Festal Hall.
This year, the 2010 Zenner’s Oktoberfest attracted a record number of visitors, estimated to be as many as 30,000, to the three-day event, September 24th through 26th.
“Here at Oaks Park, we always focus on providing family-oriented fun,” smiled Mackay. “People have learned that that they can bring their kids to the main ‘Festal Hall’ to listen to the music and dance. And, the adults can have a beer while the family dines on great German food. With all of our rides operating, it makes a fun day.”
Mackay says she loves to put on her dirndl (Oktoberfest dress), and help preside over the sausage eating, pretzel throwing and chicken dancing contests. “But my favorite part is the music! I’m a ‘polka girl’, I admit!”
2010 Zenner’s Oktoberfest
The famous “Polkatones” are an annual favorite band at the Oaks Park Oktoberfest.
Brandon Mirantee, a student with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, grills more Zenner’s Sausages.
Sisters Kristy and Stacy White were their best dirndls in the Festal Hall.
It’s not all dancing! Trying her skill at a carnival game – swinging a BIG hammer and winning a prize – is Violet Vandell.
In the Oaks Park Festal Hall, it’s again time for the famous “Chicken Dance”.
Contestants try their luck at making “Condiment Art” – drawing a dirndl, using ketchup and mustard!
The Polkatone’s baritone player leads an ever-lengthening line dance through the Oaks Park Oktoberfest Festal Hall.
Oaks Park’s mascot, Chipper, hugs kids after a fun dance in the main Festal Hall.
Whether it’s a real German tradition or not – these revelers take the “Pretzel Toss” challenge seriously.
Perhaps it’s not a world record – but here, hundreds of folks join in for a local tradition: The “Chicken Dance”, in the Oaks Park Oktoberfest Festal Hall.
Hungry and exhausted from all the activities, families dine, and enjoy live music, in the Oaks Park small Festal Hall.
© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News