Wonderful weather for the annual picnic at the Claireville Ranch, hosted by the "Treue Husaren Mississauga" carnival society. The fiasco of two years ago - when it rained cats and dogs – was now only a faint memory. But we had fun then and it was pretty much the same this year.
One of the highlights of this event is not the fantastic barbeque – although it is one of them – but the traditional "Kartoffelpuffer" fry – the potato pancakes! Everybody apparently looks forward to this delicious "Pre-BBQ-snack" and shows their appreciation by getting a second helping, and of course praising the cook.
While I am on my favourite subject, food, I should mention the "Barbie". Once they got it going it did not take long for the line-up to start. Delicious chops, sausages and hamburgers soon found hungry takers who completed their selection with tasty potato salad, coleslaw and buns.
Some of the guests, traditionally, were the Narrhalla gang from Hamilton and even the Mathessons showed up from Pickering.
The children were delighted when Tweety and Sylvester showed up. For a change they were not chasing each other but gave out lollipops and posed for photo opportunities with the kids. Face painting, "Sackhüpfen" (Racing while wearing potato sacks) and other games kept the young ones busy and out from underfoot.
Speaking of young ones, Mark and Mandy Schmitz introduced the youngest member of the girl-guard. Congratulations!
It was also gratifying to see Otto and Ursula Müller – who celebrated their 50 wedding anniversary last year, as you may remember – and Arno and Annie with the ever-present, delicious "Margaritas".
While we are on the subject of booze, Wilf Küsters has discovered "Winkelhausen" brandy – thanks to an ad in our paper and it is now the favourite and a staple in his bar. It was also one of the prizes of the raffle, later this afternoon. To quench the thirst, there was plenty of ice-cold juice available – and coffee of course. If you wanted something with a little more kick to it you had to bring your own beverage. Of course everyone knew this and there were plenty of coolers in evidence – even some original "Pilsener Urquell".
And then there were the traditional hayrides, always a favourite with the guests – especially the kids - and the bonfire when it got dark.
All in all another very successful event, thanks to the many volunteers that contributed much of their spare time to make sure it would be the success that is was.
It’s Oktoberfest time again…
…and it started at the Hansa Haus, where they had to turn people away at the door. They were full!
The "Euro Connection" did their best to keep things hopping, successfully I might add.
Schuhplattler performances by the Weiss-Blau Bayern and folk dances by the Almrausch dancers gave people a chance to sit down and rest up - for the next bout on the dance floor.
Food was good and plenty, but then we don’t expect anything else from the Hansa kitchen. They have spoilt us for a long time these many past years. It was a great evening again, thanks to the many volunteers that made it possible. As usual, Regina’s Dirndlstube had a wonderful display of dresses and accessories available.
The Johnny Michael Band played almost without a break all the wonderful waltzes and polkas people enjoyed dancing to. They have a well-rounded repertoire of just the right music for the occasion – Oktoberfest, of course.
The "Alpenland" dancers entertained with three dances to the delight of the audience. It is gratifying to see that the "Heimat" is not forgotten entirely.
The following Saturday the GKG Narrhalla 58 hosted the "Steel City Oktoberfest" in the Germania Club in Hamilton. This event drew close to 200 revellers. Highlight of the evening was the traditional tapping of the first keg of beer. It was rolled into the hall with Monika Turner – our recent princess – on top of the barrel. Lifted onto the stage, the keg was tapped by Bob Morrow – Hamilton’s eternal mayor – to the appreciative applause of the guests, many of whom gathered around the cask to get a measure of free beer. This is also traditional. I very well remember when there were about 50 freeloaders gathered in front of the barrel at the Convention Centre on past occasions
I met Bob Morrow, who has been responsible for stability in Hamilton’s municipal government, many, many years ago. Even then he tapped the first keg – at Oktoberfest in the Convention Centre – with great flair and success. Now, only the venue has changed.
This was also the first time a new band was tried out for the occasion. The Nu-Tones proved to be up to the job required. I first met them at the open house of the Konzelmann Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake this summer. They not only played traditional Oktoberfest-type music but also something more modern, which pleased the younger attendees no end.
The buffet served upstairs was a carbon copy of the one I mentioned earlier on. Great! Only this time I tried the Westphalian Sausage, instead of the meatballs.
The Alpenland dancers provided entertainment again, plus the Kinderguard of the Narrhalla with a sort of Oktoberfest guard dance. The audience received them very well indeed.
Another feature that had been added were 1 Liter plastic beer mugs, that were sold at the entrance at one dollar apiece. By 9:30 p.m. about 64 had been sold. That means that almost half of the visitors had their own beer mug. Not a bad idea!
To the delight of the hunters and would be James Bonds, the shooting gallery was open again downstairs. I tried it out also, won a flower with the first shot, missed the second and only nicked the little ceramic tubes that hold the flower on the third one. Well, at three shots for a buck I thought that was well worth the effort.
Another intriguing innovation were the song sheets on all tables where the traditional songs had been translated phometically into something the non-Germans could pronounce and it started with – what else – "Ine Prosit dare Gay-murt-ly-kite". I wonder how that would be received at the "Hohfbroyhouse" in Munich! Clever, clever, clever, guys!
The previous weekend had also featured the Oktoberfest at the Donauschwaben Club in Scarborough. It was a sell-out again. I went there on the Sunday afternoon and was told that the previous evening was also a very crowded affair with hardly any seats left, up- and downstairs. And – guess what – pork hocks were on the menu also. And again, many of the people I watched were eating them.
Lots of souvenirs were also available, hats and feathers in
many colours, beer glasses and other paraphernalia suitable for the
Oktoberfest season. Regina’s "Dirndlstube" was displaying
her wonderful dirndls in the mezzanine upstairs, for anyone who wanted
The "Golden Keys" from Kitchener did a fantastic job of keeping the guests ‘in the mood’- and on the dance floor.
They really have a fabulous repertoire, I always enjoy their music and I think most everyone else does too.
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