INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — When you imagine Oktoberfest, what comes to mind? Live German Oom-pah bands, loads of beer, bratwurst, lederhosen and dirndls all around. This year's annual Vero Beach Oktoberfest, hosted by the Junior League of Indian River on Saturday at Pointe West didn't disappoint.
An estimated crowd of 1,000 people attended this year's event despite the on again off again rainy conditions.
"This has been an amazing day," Amy Harwick, Event Chair exclaimed. "We decided to go ahead rain or shine. We worked a year on this so we were determined to see it through to fruition."
This family-friendly Oktoberfest had plenty to offer for everyone including six flavors of German beer, as well as authentic German food such as knockwurst, strudel, and potato pancakes. Traditional Oktoberfest fare included keg tapping, chicken dances, and a flag parade. Kids had plenty of activities and games to choose from, including bounce houses, pony rides and face painting.
Grandma Evelyn Chin, cheered her two grandsons on as they gleefully rode a pony. Grandsons Joaquin, 4, and brother, Jovaannie, 2, waved happily to the crowd during one of the brief moments that the sun shined through the clouds.
"We have had so much fun despite the occasional shower and overcast weather, "said the proud grandma, Chin. "We can't wait to come to this again next year."
All proceeds from the 2010 Oktoberfest event will benefit The Whole Child Connection, the league's newest ground-floor initiative and other Community Impact Projects.
"This is an exciting new program which matches families with local resources," said Shira Johnson, Executive Director of the Whole Child Connection. "This service will help every family in our community with children from birth to 25 years old."
Leading the entertainment of the day was the Bob Housten Oktoberfest Trio and the German American Club of the Treasure Coast dancers.
"We enjoy coming out here to celebrate Bavarian dances and share our heritage," said Gebhard Saup, leader and dance instructor of the dance group. "The crowds were wonderful."
Oktoberfest has a rich history which began as a wedding party for Germany's Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. Today Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world with music, singing, dancing, beer, food and revelry. Vero Beach has joined the tradition, thanks to the Junior League, to make it a modern celebration of autumn each year for families in the community to enjoy.
"This is our third year doing this and it has been called the premium Oktoberfest on the Treasure Coast," said Lindsey Goodall, Junior League President. "We had an amazing committee and a group of committed volunteers to make this all happen."
"We are so grateful for the community support that we have had today and are honored to serve Indian River County," Goodall said.
CVS Industrial Engineer and new transplant to Vero Beach from Ohio, Dustin Wright, looked on as his children enjoyed the children's activities.
"This is an incredible town to live in. We are so happy to be here," Wright said. "It's great to be part of Vero Beach's Oktoberfest."