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Oompah-ssible not to love Oktoberfest

<p>John Roth dances with a chicken at the Oktoberfest last year. (FILE PHOTO)</p>

John Roth dances with a chicken at the Oktoberfest last year. (FILE PHOTO)

<p>Guests enjoy Oktoberfest last year. (FILE PHOTO)</p>

Guests enjoy Oktoberfest last year. (FILE PHOTO)

The "Chicken Dance" is an annual event at the Oktoberfest. (FILE PHOTO)
The "Chicken Dance" is an annual event at the Oktoberfest. (FILE PHOTO)

Halloween is one thing, but for North Hawaii Rotary Club, it’s more fun to get tricked up in costume and treat yourself to Oktoberfest, Friday, Oct. 18, 5-8 p.m. at historic Pukalani Stables in Waimea. For the past 13 years, the lively Bavarian festival that began in 1810 has taken on a bit of island flavor as it raised funds for NHRC’s scholarships and community organizations.

“It’s exciting to see the event grow,” said John Roth, NHRC Director of Club Service. “Every year it gets bigger and better.” New to the usually sold-out celebration this year are all-access VIP tickets, which include food and beverage stations, a collectible Oktoberfest stein and four game tickets.

“This year we have games,” said Roth. “We have a ‘wine toss,’ like a ring-toss game where you can win different wines, and kind of a German take on Portuguese horseshoes.”

Also for competitors, there’s a costume contest that brings out Waimea’s best dirndls, lederhosen and Tyrol hats, and a silent auction to benefit Rotary and the Waimea Country School.

Always a highlight of Oktoberfest, the silent auction showcases more than 100 items, ranging in value from $25 to $1,000 and more. Variety spices the auction catalog (available to preview at www.waimeacountryschool.org/auction), that includes everything from art to Zumba, with hotel stays, golf, restaurants, an original quilt, “insider tours” of summit observatories and much more in between. NHRC itself is putting up three big-ticket items for auction, including a Lava Lava Beach Club overnight package with $100 restaurant certificate and Ocean Sports activity for four.

Food is of course mandatory for any Hawaii Island merrymaking and Oktoberfest is no exception.

“Redwater Café is our main vendor and they will be serving their beer-boiled brats with sauerkraut,” said Roth, who credits Susy Ruddle with organizing a great lineup of food stations. “Others donating food and services are Mamane Bakery, Lilikoi Café, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Pau, and Big Island Brewhaus brings its special Oktoberfest Brew every year,” said Roth.

In addition to those above, Roth said sponsors include Ethan Tweedie, who is donating his services as a photographer, Bank of Hawaii, First Hawaiian Bank, Kamuela Liquor Store, KTA, Title Guarantee, Bob Kennedy from Edward Jones, and other generous community supporters.

“Johnson Brothers provide Bittberger beer and wines, and we’ll have the Waimea Coffee Company and Zest Pizza,” said Roth. “And we’re hoping Minit Stop will make an appearance with their fabulous fried chicken.”

Chicken is an important part of Oktoberfest, as the newest Rotarians are usually asked to lead the crowd in a stirring rendition of the traditional “Chicken Dance.” Although its origins are more Swiss than German, and although it actually hatched as “The Duck Dance” or “Birdie Dance,” the actual oompah song was written in the 1950’s by accordionist Werner Thomas.

Tickets are available online at www.oktoberfesthawaii.org or from Rotary members. For information or to participate, contribute or become an event co-sponsor, call Alethea Lai at 989-7861.