All things Germanic celebrated at Oaks Park

Again, historic Oaks Amusement Park hosts the local Oktoberfest attended by thousands …

Perennial and energetic Oaks Amusement Park Oktoberfest hostess Emily MacKay organizes a kids activity.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

More families than ever realized this year they didn’t need to drive halfway to Salem to find a bona fide Oktoberfest celebration – not when historic, non-profit Oaks Amusement Park provides the authentic experience with music, food, dancing, and fun right in southeast Portland.

“We’ve been told this is the most authentic Oktoberfest celebration in the greater Portland area,” commented Oaks Senior Manager Mary Beth Coffey during the event, held on the last weekend in October.

Folks come from all over the region to celebrate Oktoberfest in the Oaks’ gigantic “Festhallen” pavilion.

“We started in 1990, didn’t hold it for two years, and have been back every year since then,” Coffey told THE BEE East Portland News. “That’s a lot of ooom-pah music!”

Coffey couldn’t say how many glasses of Paulaner beer, imported from Germany, were enjoyed by guests during this year’s Oktoberfest, but she estimated that more than 20,000 guests attended the celebration.

Demonstrating traditional dances is the Edelweiss Tanz Gruppe.

Showing his soccer skills, while dressed in lederhosen, is Connor Cassidy.

“What sets our Oktoberfest apart from many others,” Coffey reflected, “is everything is family-oriented. We welcome parents to bring their kids, enjoy the food, culture – and amusement rides – while the adults enjoy an authentic adult beverage.”

One of the many food purveyors was Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood. On their menu was their own fresh Sausage, kraut, potato salad, and Rueben sandwiches.

Providing a lively soundtrack to the weekend evenings was the world-famous “Polkatones”, returning again this year with their family show band.

LeCordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts instructor Chef Anjalia Wynkoop demonstrates how to prepare authentic German Apple Kutchen.

Costumed entertainers from Red Shoe Productions begin a kids’ quiz game.

The “Kinderplatz” featured children’s activities, such as games, crafts, and a children’s chicken dance party.

And, in addition to dining and dancing, adults participated in The Oaks’ now-traditional games of Pretzel toss, condiment art, and Chicken Dance contests, vying for the prizes in the city-block long “Festhallen” pavilion.

With “beaks in the air”, this group does the famous “Chicken Dance”.

Into the night, the “Polkatones” keep people dancing.

Scurrying to check on hospitality supplies, Coffey said she enjoyed the continuous live music in the two pavilions – and the cooking shows. “We’re glad so many people come to celebrate this season with us!”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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