By Denise Parker
The city of Peoria and the Arizona Center for German Culture hosted the twelfth annual Old World Oktoberfest at Centennial Plaza Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23 from 5-10 p.m.
Admission was $5 per person. Anyone twenty years of age or under was admitted for free. An entertainment schedule could be found online for both days.
Old World Oktoberfest brought attention to the German culture within the city. At 6:00 p.m. on Friday, there was a formal opening ceremony parade & keg tapping. Members of the Arizona Center for German Culture carried flags for different countries, including the American and the German flag.
As part of the entertainment, rides and booths were opened all evening. Rides included an inflatable slide, a rock climbing tower, and a bounce house with a Scooby-Doo theme. Vendors sold jewelry, traditional German clothing, toys, glow sticks, and German trinkets.
Rich and Lynn Everhart sold authentic German items at their Oktober Art stand. That event was their tenth year hosting their booth at the event. They travel around Germany and collect, and now their children travel and collect as well.
One common object to find is a beer stein, a container for holding beer. Lids are placed on the beer stein to keep contaminates out, Lynn Everhart explained.
Traditional German music was played throughout the evening. Die Echten Waldbuam is a band from Germany. They used traditional German instruments, such as the concertina and the alphorn. The band also played American artists’ works including Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash. A dance floor was placed in front of the stage for people to dance.
Booths offered traditional German food, like German potato salad, bratwurst, potatoes pancakes, frankfurters, pretzels, sauerkraut, polish sausage, and dessert straddle. Warsteiner Beer, wine or schnapps, soda, bottled water, and lemonade were also available.
A contest called Best Dressed Oktoberfest Recognition was held for the best dress in traditional German clothing. The categories included single males, single females, and married couples. Men wore lederhosen. Women wore dirndl. Contestants paraded around the dance floor for the crowd to see. Participants were asked for their name and where they were from. Many entries were from Peoria and Phoenix. The winner was decided by who received the most cheers. Each contest had a first-prize and a second-prize winner. They received a weizen glass.
“I like the people and the atmosphere,” said Lynn Everhart about Oktoberfest in Peoria.
For more events held in the city of Peoria, check out their events page at www.peoriaaz.gov