Music and mirth rule at 2017's Oaks Oktoberfest
An annual end-of-summer tradition that keeps growing in popularity is Oktoberfest, held at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood.
From September 22-24, this celebration of all things Germanic again this year attracted a record number of guests to dine, dance, and drink beer.
"We do serve German 'Paulaner' Oktoberfest beer, it's the best there is!" exclaimed Oaks Amusement Park Promotions/Events Manager Emily MacKay.
"But, beer aside, what people tell us they like best about our Oktoberfest is that it so family-oriented," MacKay told THE BEE. "The whole family is welcome: Everyone from grandma and grandpa to toddlers and teens, are all able to come, hear traditional oompah music, and eat German food, and enjoy the overall friendly, neighborly atmosphere that they find here," she added.
They haven't added any new events or attractions to the Oktoberfest celebration, MacKay said. "Here at Oaks Park, we have our traditions of bringing our old favorites back.
"What is new are the large number of guests who've come this year, saying either they've just moved into the area, or just heard about this," MacKay pointed out. "It's been really delightful to see a lot of new faces who are here to experience Oktoberfest for the first time, along with our returning friends."
As she raced around attired in her traditional Bavarian dirndl dress, it was difficult to keep up with MacKay, who serves as hostess as well as the main mistress of ceremonies for the three day festival.
Outside, just west of the Main Festhalle, MacKay cheered on the finals of the Wiener Dog Races – with the pooches scurrying along the course, benefitting Oregon Dachshund Rescue.
During the daylight hours, the Kinderplatz kids' area hosted special activities and entertainers for little ones and their families. And, throughout the Oktoberfest, guests browsed the Craft & Import Village for souvenirs and gifts.
"People really do love the music, including the Fabulous Polkatones, who are again our headliner band; it's a big wonderful family show band, and it's become part of our extended family here at Oaks Park every year," MacKay said.
A family atmosphere emanates from the Polkatones on stage, and out through the park, MacKay remarked – with all of the rides operating and midway in full swing. "The Oaks Amusement Park that they've loved all summer long now has an autumn makeover, making it special for many guests!"
The first Oktoberfest, ever, celebrated a royal wedding in Bavaria in 1810; but today it's a pervasive worldwide tradition – and, in Portland, it's a big draw each year for the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States – our own Oaks Park.