If you live Upcounty, Oktoberfest isn't a German tradition. It's a German-town tradition, explained event chair Monika Taylor, who expects thousands of people at Ridge Road Park today, for the 29th annual Germantown Oktoberfest.
OK, so you can waltz. You can polka. There’s probably lots of lederhosen and tubas flitting about.
But there are also funnel cakes, a strolling magician and something called “Popnoggins,” Taylor said, which is what happens if you green-screen attendees while they lip-sync. Relive the magic of “Whomp, there it is,” “Mama Mia,” “Single Ladies,” and “Poker Face” with a take-home DVD.
“For free,” said Taylor, as she continued listing free activities. Some activities charge fees, though admission to the event is free.
In keeping with tradition, proceeds will be given to local charities — after prom initiatives at Northwest and Seneca Valley high schools and possibly two other nonprofits, Taylor said.
Last year, the schools' after proms split $3,000 of Oktoberfest money, Taylor said.
There had been grumblings that fewer donor dollars and higher overhead cost would lead to the debut of an unwanted attraction for the event’s 30th anniversary — admission fees.
“That’s something we absolutely don’t want to do,” said Taylor, a professional fundraiser.
She estimated it would cost $47,000 to put on this year’s Oktoberfest, about $6,000 more than it did last year due to a drop in cash donors.
Taylor said that Oktoberfest was doing "OK" and that it wasn't all doom-and-gloom.
"It's just a bad economy," Taylor said.
Taylor credited honorary chair William G. Robertson, president and CEO of Adventist HealthCare for spreading the word among local businesses.
At last count, 90 vendors were signed on to participate at Oktoberfest, Taylor said.