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Fox Valley Oktoberfest Review

9th Annual Fox Valley Oktoberfest

Review by Kim Kozar

2011 Oktoberfest Pictures
2012 Oktoberfest Pictures

Hundreds came out for a German inspired weekend to get a healthy helping of Gemütlichkeit September 16th through September 18th, 2011 along the picturesque Fox river in Batavia, Illinois. In addition to our own being in traditional dress, attendees were also sporting their lederhosen and dirndls.

The 9th Annual Fox Valley Oktoberfest, well done by the Fox Valley chapter of DANK, was attended by the greatest crowd to date. Despite the threat of rain on Sunday, the party continued as the beer garden, Egerlaender Dancers and live traditional music were all protected under the big tent where many gathered to return to their roots with traditional German folk dancing (yes, we did partake in the Chicken Dance), dining and beer drinking. As any one or perhaps all three types of Hacker-Pschorr German Bier or the light domestic bier and German wine were consumed, the merriment increased - or, perhaps it was the Sacher Torte (the first cake to sell out).

Professional German Chef Clemens Hog pulled out all the stops to ensure festival goers did not go hungry. The two types of bratwurst, fresh schnitzel, Bavarian pretzels, and nearly a 1/2 TON of home made German potato salad (+ 60 lbs. of bacon) were all prepared to transport taste buds that will not soon forget the experience.

The sweet tooth was not left hanging, as Maria Thompson, Esther Markwart and Rita Golter coordinated efforts to satisfy like no other festival we've seen in these parts, tempting diners with European pastries like chocolate, plum, hazelnut tortes, cherry and apple strudels ~ all elegantly displayed in a beautiful bakery case (provided by the chapter's own Jerry Thompson). The crowds approved as evidenced in the estimated 1,000 slices of cake and gingerbread hearts that were sold!

An opening ceremony featured Committee Chair Willi Gohs who paid homage to the many hours put in on behalf of all those who made the festival possible. The official commencement was marked with the "barrel breaking" that would open the flow of pure bier straight from Germany and to honor the Batavia Police Department's cooperation with the event, Detective Kevin Bretz was invited to join in the ceremonial tapping.

Volunteer Coordinator Cobi Stein graciously thanks all of those volunteers who made the Konditorei a little sweeter with their presence, the festival safer with kind and detailed security and the refuse team who left no trace behind. Stein shares some fun facts as she explains, "an estimated twice as many people attended the Fest on Saturday as ever did before (even in the best year in Elgin), 85 people attended the church service (featuring the Elmhurst Damenchor and Elmhurst Maennerchor) on Sunday morning, as compared to 12 in 2010, and there are at least a dozen more people in the world who know how to do the polka, thanks to dance instructor lessons given on Sunday afternoon. It seems clear to us that this Fest is trending upwards...and with your continued help, we will keep reaching for the moon and the stars."

Following the ceremony, Detective Bretz said in his own words, "Your staff and security folks were top notch" and went on to say, "The way you set it up and ran the event was a model I plan on using for future events in Batavia". Gohs shares in the kudos, honoring all who took part in the event, "We can all be proud of what we have accomplished for the area and the awareness of German organizational talent."