Octoberfest or Oktoberfest…
…no matter how you spell it, it still spells lots of fun and "Gemütlichkeit" (cozy, congenial ambiance) for the many visitors that attend these events.
Of course these events always are, especially when the "Harmonie Brass Show Band" plays their fantastic repertoire of pertinent music.
Excellent fare, to sustain the energy requirements of the revellers was served from the kitchen (thanks to Karin, the "Kitchen Fairy") and the bar had all hands full supplying the required beverages. They now have "Warsteiner" on tap. What a delicious brew that is!
The "Volkstanzgruppe Almrausch" and the "Weiss-Blau" Schuhplattler – Senior and Junior groups, provided the entertainment.
They had started their Oktoberfest at 4 p.m. with the "Harmony Showband" already. However by the time I arrived at the club, the "Günter Sander Band" had taken over and were in full swing (?) with the proper music.
I had not seen Günter for about eight years and it was great to renew old acquaintances and to reminisce about the "old days". I have known Günter for more years than I care to remember and was glad to see that he hasn’t really changed very much in the last eight years, nor has the quality of his repertoire.
One thing that I always notice lately is that there is no one there that is so inebriated for it to become noticeable. And they are not all designated drivers either.
For those that could not attend on this Saturday, the following Sunday was also designated for Oktoberfest with the "Golden Keys" from Kitchener doing their best to create the proper Oktoberfest atmosphere.
On that Sunday the men’s auxiliary from the Hansa Club hosted a toy fair in the great hall. This really was a paradise for collectors and lovers of the "old". To many of the visitors it is probably a reminder of their own childhood.
I know, because I saw a few items that reminded me, like "Mecky", the little porcupine that was popular in Germany about 35 – 45 years ago or the many windup metal-toys that we played with as children.
I also noticed an overabundance of small cars and trucks on display but was informed that most of them become antiques after three month, since new ones are always being created. As was to be expected, there were also a great number of "Star Treck" and Star Wars paraphernalia on display that drew a lot of attention and so did old board games from 1973 and 74. There were "Beanie Babies" galore but not many visitors seemed to be attracted to them. Are they on the way out, like the "Pet Rock"?
Some more recent toys like "the Simpsons, Chucky and other, more modern games, posters and T-shirts were available. One of the vendors even had some light-switch plates with old (1923) Coca Cola advertising for sale. That whole show proved to be an interesting experience.
At the opening ceremony with the marching-in of the flags and the hosts, they also enjoyed the company of three mayors (Newmarket, East Gwillimbury and Aurora) local MP and MMPs, eight councillors from Aurora and Newmarket and the Swiss Consul General. Students from the German Language School and some seniors were bussed in for this special event.
The Golden Keys from Kitchener provided the musical entertainment and the Weiss-Blau Schuhplattler group from the Hansa Haus in Brampton performed some folk dances to great applause by the audience.
The reason why this annual event is so successful in Newmarket? Because the club does not depend on the German community but promotes to the local community at large. This has been a successful action for many years. Something to seriously think about, eh?
The next Oktoberfest on my itinerary was the one hosted by the K.G. Narrhalla 58 in Hamilton. About 100 revellers had shown up including members of other carnival societies and members of the Germania Club, of course.
Very noticeable were the many wonderful costumes – or "Trachten" – worn by the members of the G.T.E.V. Alpenland from Hamilton. But many of the guests also wore their original Bavarian hats, or some reasonable facsimile thereof.
Food was good and plentiful in the upstairs lounge with a choice of schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potatoes and an assortment of salads and pastries.
A pleasant surprise was the choice of bands. They had a truly great repertoire and variety of dance music. I asked one of the organizers why they picked them and was told, "Because they don’t sing". This made a lot of sense to me and I asked a few of the other guests about this and was repeatedly assured that they don’t like all the singing either. My question then was why don’t you tell these bands not to sing if that annoys you, and was told that no one wants to hurt their feelings, since they all think that they are such great singers. I also think that the quality of the sound systems has a lot to do with the quality of the lyrics that are coming through.
I investigated further and talked about this to the band. Guess what, they are from the Ukraine and do not speak German, thus they can play, but not sing, all those wonderful tunes. Hallelujah!
Traditional dances were performed by the G.E.T.V. group and one dance that I hadn’t seen yet. It was called "Mühlrad" dance (Millwheel?) – it included a bag of flour - and was quite hilarious. Great effort, guys!
But this is not the end of the Oktoberfest season. Kitchener’s starts on the 5th and ends on the 13th of October, the Germania Choirs celebrate on the 20th of October and the Bayern Klub on the 27th of this month. Of course all this is closely followed by the various openings of carnival in November.
By the way one of the first openings (November 10th) is the one hosted by the K.G. Blue-White Eintracht at the Galaxy Club 707, in Oakville. I have had an e-mail from Helga Thormeyer promising that they will try their best to make this event an unqualified success. Dancing girls (Guard), Champagne Bar, Lein’s good food, Tombola (raffle) and a reminder that the Ramada Hotel is only a short walk away in case the designated driver cannot drive home.
Until then, as always
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