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Chapter News Release

This Article appeared in the Chicago area Daily Herald Newspaper (Posted on September 9, 2003)

Enjoy a taste of German fun at Oktoberfest this weekend

Posted 9/9/03

By Sammi King

Oktoberfest in September? What gives?

"Most people think that Oktoberfest always takes place in the month of October," said Willi Gohs. "In Germany, the Oktoberfest typically starts in September and lasts for six weeks."

Batavia resident Gohs is one of 300 area German-Americans who are members of DANK, a benevolent nonprofit organization whose purpose is to preserve German cultural traditions

DANK is sponsoring an Oktoberfest celebration in Elgin this weekend. It promises to be a lot of fun with good food, good libations and good entertainment.

Gohs will be an official brewmeister at the festival. He's experienced at pouring the German brew. He's even taken courses to be certified.

There's a right way and a wrong way to pour beer. I learned that when I was a kid. In the 1950s, my grandmother had some guests over and my grandfather offered to get drinks for everyone. He brought in the highballs and manhattans and then sat down in his big old stuffed chair with a nice cold bottle of Bud.

My grandmother scowled at him and then sent me into the kitchen to get a glass. When I gave Grandpa the glass, he scowled back at her and continued to drink from the bottle.

My grandmother then stopped scowling and went to chin-jutting. I knew I had to intervene. I took the bottle of beer and poured it into the glass. The foam rushed to the top faster than a water-logged kid in search of air. I watched as the golden beer disappeared into white bubbly froth. My grandfather refused to drink from the glass and the conversation went flatter than the beer, untouched, beside him.

(My grandparents had a lovingly, scowling relationship that lasted more than 50 years.)

The Oktoberfest will serve three authentic German beers and one domestic, but no one will be over served.

"DANK is a family organization," Gohs said. "We encourage parents to bring their children. Part of our training in being certified is to make sure that no one has too much to drink. In four years we've never had a problem."

The Fourth Annual Authentic Oktoberfest will be at the Carnival Midway in the Meijer parking lot on the corner of Randall Road and College Green Drive in Elgin.

Oktoberfest runs from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday. It continues on Saturday from noon to midnight and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.

There will be authentic German food and German bands. Entertainment will also include performances by German dancers, including the Schuhplatters, German shoe slap dancers.

The food and beverages are available at a nominal cost. The entertainment is free. For more information visit the DANK Web site at or call (630) 830-9120

"Be prepared for a lot of fun," Gohs said. "We'll sing, dance and schunkel."

"Schunkel?" I asked, unfamiliar with the term.

"Schunkeling is when people link elbows and sway to the music," said Gohs. "We have some really great German bands coming from Chicago and Milwaukee. There will be a lot of schunkeling."

Bring the kids and head out to the DANK Oktoberfest. You might be surprised how much fun schunkeling can be.

To contact Sammi King, send e-mail to




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