Oktoberfest Celebration Kicks Off Fun-Filled Fall

Written by: Mary Chartier

This article first appeared on October 28, 2013 in the Villages Daily Sun

Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club

Oktoberfest wunderbar!

With the beginning of fall, I look forward to cooler weather, warm homemade soups and one of my favorite events, the German-American Friends annual Oktoberfest celebration.

 Members of the German-American Club parade around the ballroom with the flags of the 16 states that make up German.

Members of the German-American Club parade around the ballroom with the flags of the 16 states that make up German.

I love the club’s Oktoberfest celebration because it is always a fun event filled with good German food, beer and great music.

Dressed in a beautiful red drindl, lent to me by Emilie Schmidt, and Randy in his lederhosen T-shirt, we entered a ballroom transformed into a beautiful beer hall with white and blue balloons floating above the tables containing pretzels and sweet Bavarian mustard.

Many of the ladies came dressed in beautiful traditional German dresses and colorful flowered headbands, men in lederhosen, as well as T-shirts with lederhosen designs.

I spotted Frank Albrizio with a great T-shirt with two filled beer mugs he bought when visiting Helen, Ga.  It read: “Instant German-Just add beer”.

The evening started with club president Mary Shukle and incoming president Heinz Backhus welcoming.

Heinz was wearing a very interesting grey hat that looked similar to a scarecrow’s hat, and asked the audience, “How do you like my hat?”  The audience broke into laughter and applause.

Mary then asked all new members to stand and be recognized and thanked them for joining us.

“We are also happy to have with us members of the Villages German-American Club, and we also have guests from Stonecrest.  Welcome and have a good time,” Mary continued.

The audience was then treated to a wonderful flag ceremony, with members of the club parading in and around the room with the many flags that represent the 16 states of Germany.  It was a beautiful and colorful sight.

Our German dinner of bratwurst, mettwurst, sauerkraut, and potato salad was prepared by Hollerbach’s German Willowtree Restaurant.

The Alpine Express band was back for another year and wonderful as always.  The band entertained with authentic German music and other favorites keeping the dance full all evening.

After dinner, I walked around the room and stopped for a few moments to talk with Trudy Jenkins from the Villages German-American Club.

“What do you think of our Oktoberfest?” I asked.

“I am amazed at the number of people and genuine lovely feeling of being welcomed and having fun,” Trudy replied.

We talked for a bit and I learned that Trudy had come to American from Germany settling in Long Island, NY.

“I came over when I was ten years old and met my husband Arthur in the subway.  He was with someone he called his cousin and the rest is history,” Trudy said smiling.

I also took a few moments to speak to Stonecrest resident, Juergen Kaufmann, who had been coming to our Oktoberfest for about four years.

Juergen moved to the U.S. from Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany and settled in Chicago until he and his wife, Eugenia, moved to Stonecrest.

As the evening rolled along, club member Bill Gilbert called all volunteers who wanted to participate in the Jagermeister event to come up to the stage.

Three participants at a time would hold a wooden pole that had three shot glasses attached filled with Jagermeister.  After a musical lead-in, would hoist the glasses up and drink it down in one gulp.

I do believe that this year was the largest participation in the Jagermeister event.

After each group of three would finish their drinks, Bill would shout out to the crowd, “Spruce Creek’s Oktoberfest is wunderbar!”  — much to the delight of the entire room.

A special treat for the evening was the Schatzies, a dance troupe from the Villages German-American Club that performed several folk dances in various formations.

“I think it is wonderful that there is so much cooperation between the clubs,” I remarked to club member Hugh O’Brien.

Hugh agreed, and said that the club also cooperates with the Ocala German Club and the one over in Beverly Hills with some members carrying dual members to the clubs.

The entire evening was, as Bill said, wunderbar!

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