Bands, beers, and traditions; Oktoberfest in Penticton brings all the fun of the annual event in Germany to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
“It’s been surprising, a lot of people thought Oktoberfest would never work in Penticton,” said volunteer organizer Bill Kolter. “People of all ages keep coming for this first-class event. It is a very fun night and we get people up singing and celebrating by saying Prost! (cheers). You would be surprised how many people that are not German can sing along with the songs.”
While traditionally a 16-day festival in Germany, Penticton organizers will soak the convention centre in Bavarian culture for one day on Oct. 18. Besides the traditional songs, Kolter said he has been noticing a growing trend of people dressing up for the festival.
“We had a really great crowd last year, with lots of young people too that were all dressed up which made it a lot of fun,” he said. “Then we have our dancers who will pick people out of the crowd and show them the traditional moves which is a lot of fun too.”
Prizes are handed out for best costume, spot dances and other competitions such as being able to hold your beer mug in your arm extended the longest while dancing. There will also be a 50/50 draw and silent auction.
Munich’s beer is renowned and the tradition continues at the Penticton Oktoberfest event. The lineup of nine different beers include Erdinger, Mongozo gluten free pilsner, Austrian lager Stiegel and local craft brews. McClelland Premium Imports is offering six of those beers and will be pouring free Erdinger Alkoholfrei for all designated drivers. Wines are also on the drink menu with specialty German made wine and some made right in the Okanagan.
While sausage, sauerkraut and bratwurst are staples; Kolter said this year they have also added chicken with German potato salad that can be purchased from the concession. German pretzels made at a bakery in Summerland will also be available.
Bringing the crowd to their feet will be the Beerbarrels a three-piece oom-pah-pah dance band who have been performing professionally for approximately the last 30 years. Not only do they have traditional music but they entertain the crowd with the famed German drinking songs, yodelling and beer drinking contests.
New this year is the Austria Vancouver Club Edelweiss Dancers who are all of Austrian or German heritage and will bring to life the folk dances that originated in the mountain villages throughout the Alps and surrounding regions.
lashback, known as a party and dance band, will close out the night with hit music from the 1960-80s.
The Coconut Express shuttle will be running from the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. to take people to downtown locations including the Penticton Lakeside Resort, Best Damn Sports Bar, The Mule and Bar One.
Tickets for the Oct. 18 Oktoberfest are $25 and available at www.valleyfirsttix.com, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC and the Wine Country Visitor Centre.
All money raised at the event is donated back into the community. Last year Oktoberfest organizers donated to the SS Sicamous.