Fall fun flows at Oaks Park’s famous Oktoberfest

Find out why this long-weekend celebration of all things Germanic continues to thrive in East Portland …

Music by the world-famous Polkatones show band entertains the revelers at this year’s Oaks Amusement Park Oktoberfest.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Instead of traveling to distant locations to enjoy a traditional German Oktoberfest celebration, thousands of Portlanders continue to find music, food – and of course, beer – closer to home, at historic and nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park, as they did on the weekend of October 22.

Lively music played by groups ranging from small combos to the eight-piece, world-famous Polkatones filled the century-old amusement park from two festhalles – the main one a gigantic parking-lot-sized tent.

All ages are welcome in the Wichtigsten [main] Festhalle at the Oktoberfest celebration at The Oaks.

Energetic Oaks Amusement Park Marketing and Events Director Emily MacKay again serves as hostess during the Oktoberfest.

“What sets our Oktoberfest apart – we’ve been hosting them here since 1990 – from the many other celebrations, is that ours is entirely family-oriented,” pointed out The Oaks’ Marketing and Events Director, Emily MacKay.

“Here, you’ll find moms and dads, their kids, grandmas and grandpas, cousins and friends, all having fun together,” MacKay told East Portland News.

Dressed to enjoy their Oktoberfest in traditional German finery are the Brown family – in Oaks Park’s Kleine [small] Festhalle.

Families and friends mingle under the trees in the Oaks Platz.

“Folks who visit us from Germany tell us that this has the feel of a ‘real’ Oktoberfest in their home towns; it’s in a setting surrounded by trees, with a river flowing past, where families, friends, and neighbors come together to celebrate in the fall,” remarked MacKay.

They’re off and running at this year’s “Wiener Dog Races”.

The “Wiener Dog Races” are still a popular attraction, with owners bringing their short-legged, long-bodied dachshunds to run the track. Meanwhile, other guests were browsing the shops set up in the small Alpine-village like setting.

And, thanks to a new association with Portland-based Maletis Beverage Company, the Oaks’ Oktoberfest not only offered traditional beers imported from Germany, but also a “Portland style” of brew – an IPA made with imported German ingredients – direct from Lents neighborhood based Zoiglhaus Brewery.

Sellwood neighbor Bob Goman successfully tosses the most pretzels on the plunger handle held by his wife, Kelly Goman, to win the “Pretzel Toss” contest!

“Also new this year was hard cider; it proved so popular, we quickly sold out of it,” MacKay said. “But it seems that everyone, including myself, looks forward to feasting on sausages, schnitzels, strudels, and German chocolate cake!”

Everyone who attends this Oktoberfest gets an additional benefit: enjoying the rides, old and new, at 112-year-old Oaks Amusement Park.

As afternoon turned to evening, families congregated in the Wichtigsten festhalle, sitting together at the long picnic tables, only arising for food, beverages – and to participate in the most lively of all Oktoberfest traditions, “The Chicken Dance”.

Madeleine Baumann and David Hamblin show the crowd how to do The Chicken Dance.

> On our Front Page:
Dressed in traditional garb, Steve Ober and Lynda Ober enjoy their evening at the Oaks Park Oktoberfest.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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