Oktoberfest

There’s no denying it, Germans are everywhere. And wherever there are Germans, there’s the inevitable Oktoberfest. Fort Wayne has had a German men’s choir, the Männerchor, since 1899. I don’t know if they did Oktoberfest then, but they host it now, and have done, for the last 30 years. It is held at the inevitably named Park Edelweiss not too far from our house. Saturday was a beautiful day, so we ventured over there to check it out and catch up with friends.

The area surrounding Park Edelweiss features a lovely pasture, a lot of woods and a large pond. I mention this because I recently learned why there are so many ponds around here all of a sudden (there weren’t back in ’89): when the highways were built up, the State needed dirt and basically dug a pond in exchange for the dirt for anyone who applied. Lots of people took advantage of this, and thus we’re becoming a Land o’ Lakes (not to be confused with the butter).

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The building itself is a giant barn. Not that we don’t have barns back home, but this is a very distinct style not normally found outside the U.S. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of that, but I do have some shots of the outside of the barn, including the little Biergarten.

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The menu for the event promised Schnitzel and Spätzle, but instead, we got potatoes (not bad, but very far from Spätzle, commonly advertised as Swabian noodles). There was, however, German beer, Köstritzer from East Germany and Warsteiner for the pilsener fans. See if you can guess which one DH favoured:

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Incidentally, amongst all the non-German cakes and desserts, I found a very tasty piece of Zwetschgenkuchen (plum cake)! It was too small to photograph before being devoured, but I’m glad it was there nonetheless.

After dinner, the men’s and ladies’ choirs put on some live music upstairs.

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When Americans think of Germany and particularly any kind of fest, they think of Bavaria and its original Oktoberfest, hence I was a little apprehensive when the conductor announced “traditional German fest songs” (DJ Ötzi? Wolfgang Petri?) Undeterred, the ladies launched into… the Lorelei?? The infamous mermaid vixen of the Rhine valley hardly qualifies for the occasion, I should think! Next up, there was a rendition of Muss I Denn, made famous in the 50s by GI Elvis while stationed in Friedberg. The farewell of a Swabian carpenter to his sweetheart isn’t what I consider Festmusik, either, but what really got me was the following Sah’ ein Knab ein Röslein Steh’n, which is neither Bavarian nor even remotely related to anything that should be played at a party. By then, I had a huge headache (unrelated to the festivities) and horrendously itchy eyes (possibly caused by something in the barn) and had to flee the scene of the musical crime.

Still, it’s a nice little event if you enjoy plausching with older people who are real Germans or possibly trying new foods which remains reserved for October 13th and the Edelweiss’ Taste of Germany foodie event.

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