Overflow crowd celebrates Oktoberfest

The Tirolean Dancers danced the afternoon away. They used props, like these baker's hats, for many dances.

By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski

Staff writer

HERMISTON — People of all ages came to dance, eat and just be merry at the Hohe Wüste Oktoberfest.

Dancers cavorted to the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey as well as a polka now and then during the fifth annual event, held this weekend at the Hermiston Conference Center.

The Hohe Wüste Oktoberfest weekend — Hohe Wüste means High Desert in German — kicked off with a sold-out dinner Friday evening, complete with brauts and sauerkraut and entertainment from the Enzian Schuhplattlers and the Greg Meier Quartet. According to organizers, people were being turned away at the door of the conference center.

"We has a fantastic turn-out," said Jackie Myers, one of the Oktoberfest committee members. "It was a great success. We would like to see this happen again next year."

Friday night's adult-only crowd was a mixture of young and old as the attendees feasted on traditional German fare prepared by the Hermiston Christian Men's group and served by Clara Brownell Middle School students, earning money for the Washington, D.C. trip. Altrusa assisted in making the German chocolate and carrot cakes as well as the apple strudel.

Saturday's entertainment included the Enzian Schuhplattlers, Greg Meier Quartet, Still Kickin', the Tirolean Dancers and the Alpine Echoes.

"The turnout for the whole weekend was spectacular," Myers said. "We had good gate sales."

Myers added that the entertainment groups also donated money to the middle school students to help with their fundraising.

Roger Mowery, dance leader for the Enzian Schuhplattlers, says Hermiston's Oktoberfest is a great place to come and dance. It also affords them the opportunity to see the Tirolean Dancers perform, something they don't see often because they are at different festivals.

"It's a really nice festival," Mowery said. "I love your new venue."

Many of the acts told Myers they were happy to be asked back to Hermiston. The Tirolean Dancers and the Alpine Echoes — an oompa band — have been at Oktoberfest since it first started five years ago. The Enzian Schuhplattlers were at Oktoberfest the first two years, but could not come back until this year due to scheduling conflicts. The Greg Meier Quartet rounded out their second year at Oktoberfest as did the band Still Kickin'.

"The entertainment was for all people," said Myers. "We had a nice mix of people attending. We are planning for a bigger and better one next year."

Karen Hutchinson-Talaski can be reached at ktalaski@hermistonherald.com.

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