Dance like a chicken, raise steins to toast fall

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Last Saturday evening, several hundred Canyon Lakers and friends were in the Towne Center to enjoy the fall festivities and celebration of the world-wide party known as Oktoberfest.

Canyon Lake’s Oktoberfest, hosted by the Sport Stop, offered traditional Bavarian food including Bratwurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and more. There was a selection of beers, both German and American, as well as wine, soda and water. The American Bavarian Brass Band kept everything lively with hoppin’ Bavarian “oompah” music, and there were plenty of local vendors for those who preferred shopping to dancing. ABC Bounce Co. provided bounce houses to keep the kids entertained.

A favorite fun dance that has been a popular tradition for more than two decades, the Chicken Dance, was performed by attendees to the laughter and encouragement of the audience. There were also traditional songs with the audience joining in and raising their steins in unison of “Oans, zwoa, drei! G’Suffa!” (One, two, three! Drink up!).

A parade of flags through the Center honored the family, friends and countrymen who have served or are now serving in the military.

Of course there were contests! First, to pay homage to women beer servers, came the stein-holding contest, won by Justin McCrory. This was followed by a jalapeño pepper-eating contest, won by Jonathan Rodriguez. The beer-drinking contest was won by last year’s defending champ, Sam Allard (aka Sammy Slammer), and the hotdog-eating contest (using plain ol’ American-style dogs and buns) was won by Mike Cuicchi. Four great yodeling kids tied for Canyon Lake’s best yodeler. There was also a 50/50 drawing held at the end of the event.

The Bavarian celebration began in 1810 with a celebration of the royal marriage of Crown Prince Ludwg of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghavsen on October 12. Today it has grown into an enormous party celebrated in cities all over the world. Customs vary, but most include parades, Bavarian costumes, music, dancing, food and, naturally, beer!

But Oktoberfest is not just guzzling beer and dancing like a chicken. It’s a celebration of Bavarian traditions and culture. Over the years, the celebration has grown in every way and include parades, carnivals, agriculture shows, speciality foods and traditional costumes, to name a few. Attendance has also become enormous; more than 6 million in the city of Munich alone!

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Donna Kupke