Oaks Park Oktoberfest – fun, sausage, beer, polkas

Here you’ll discover the fun still to be had this weekend, and why so many outer East Portland folks celebrate Oktoberfest at The Oaks …

The Main Festhalle fills with Oktoberfest revelers during the celebration at Oaks Amusement Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On the third weekend in September each year – this year, October 20-22 – historic and nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park hosts Portland’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, drawing a huge crowd for the Bavarian music, drink, and German food for the whole family.

Again this year, Oktoberfest hostess, Emily MacKay, dons her costume to welcome families to the celebration.

“We’ve been doing Oktoberfest here since 1991! I’ve worked it for 24 years, and this is my 15th year of managing our annual celebration,” exclaimed Oaks Amusement Park Marketing & Events Manager Emily MacKay.

Dressed for dancing, Amy Luke and William Luke said they came all the way from Spokane to enjoy this Oktoberfest.

Traveling from Mount Angel to sell his authentic German wares – including this lovely dirndl – is Scott Stokley of Touch of Bavaria.

“Over the years, we’ve created what guests tell us is the ‘right mix’ of things they expect to find at a traditional Oktoberfest celebration. Naturally, we’re hesitant to make any changes that would disrupt the tradition we’ve established,” MacKay said.

This East Portland Oktoberfest has come to rely on local German families to provide the food, she remarked; and many families have passed their tradition of cooking and serving Bavarian-styled foods down from generation to generation.

Serving up a crisp, cold German beer is Sarah Thomas.

At the end ending of the song, “Ein Prosit”, folks in the Main Festhalle chant a toast, “Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, Oi Oi Oi!”

“The major attraction here is that ours is a truly family-friendly event,” MacKay told East Portland News. “While we certainly want folks of an age to enjoy an adult beverage here – again this year, Portland’s own Maletis Beverage brought the beer over from Germany for our festival – kids are still welcome in both Festhalles.

“Older kids may prefer to ride our rides and play carnival games, but you’ll find the younger kiddos enjoying a meal and dancing with their parents, throughout the festival,” observed MacKay.

Between bands, the Tirolean Dancers perform traditional Bavarian and Austrian Schuhplattler and Volkstanz dances.

The last two weekends in September is your last opportunity, ever, to ride The Oaks’ famed Scream’n Eagle.

“You’re hearing it first: after 15 years, we are replacing our Scream’n Eagle – the single most popular ride in the park,” MacKay announced. “Plans are to replace it with an even more ‘extreme’ version, one that swings all the way over the top!

So, this weekend, and next, September 28-29 will be your last opportunity to ride this exciting attraction.

For more information, including admission prices, performance schedules, menus, location and hours of operation, see their official webpage: CLICK HERE.

This year, MacKay said, Oaks Park expects to welcome 25,000 guests to the over the three-day Oktoberfest weekend.

At dusk, Oaks Amusement Park turns into a Bavarian wonderland.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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