Oaks Park Oktoberfest rolls out a barrel of fun

See why this celebration goes to show you don’t have to be of German heritage to enjoy this grand, local Oktoberfest …

At this year’s Zenners Oaks Park Oktoberfest, a favorite event is always the “Pretzel Toss”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On the third weekend in September, historic Oaks Amusement Park rolls out a celebration of all things Germanic, as once again they host Portland’s pre-eminent Oktoberfest.

As many as 30,000 people come through the nonprofit amusement park’s gates to enjoy food, beverages, and loads of family-friendly entertainment.

From “Touch of Bavaria” in Mt. Angel, offering beer steins and vintage clothing, are Scott Stokley wearing a bundhosen and Kristi Stokley wearing a dirndl.

Chef Paul Folkestad of Portland Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts demonstrates how to make great German food. (To open a PDF of his “Classic Veal Schnitzel, CLICK HERE).

Eleanor Sievert, five-year veteran of hosting Oaks Park Oktoberfests, stands with event manager Emily MacKay.

“This is our 21st year celebrating Oktoberfest,” observed Oaks Park’s ever-perky event manager, Emily MacKay. “I’ve been involved with this back when it was hosted by the Rhinelander, and I’ve been managing it for seven years.”

Thinking over all of the events during the festival, MacKay said she couldn’t choose a favorite. “Maybe it’s because I’m of German heritage, but I like it all – the food, music, dancing, crowds, and the contests. I look forward to Oktoberfest; it’s my very favorite event of the year.”

These men of the Tyrolean Dancers demonstrate the Vatschen Plattler (Fighting Dance).

Dressed in authentic costumes, Mari and Terry Rudd dance to polka tunes.

A wide variety of food is available at this year’s Oaks Park Oktoberfest.

The wiener-dog races are a big hit, MacKay smiled, drawing record numbers of entries. “And, our cooking show, featuring authentic recipes, continues to be a hit. This year, the recipes will be online, after the demonstrations.”

New this year was the variety of foods available. “Portland loves food carts – and this year, we have six vendors offering all kinds of foods from the region. It’s fun, it adds a lot to the event.”

With that, MacKay was off to host the “pretzel toss” contest – and of course, as she does each year, to lead everyone in the “Chicken Dance”.

The Polkatones get everyone up dancing.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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