German steins of all sizes were being raised for a good cause at this years Oktoberfest.
The Bakersfield counter-part to the German festivities was held at Stramler Park for the fourth time on Oct. 4, 2013 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m, with much the same enthusiasm and a small slice of what the original would have on tap.
Beers like Hofbrau Munchen and Spaten, German staples in their home country, had representation as well as local brews like Lengthwise Oktoberfest garnered a following of thirsty patrons. There was traditional German sausage and sauerkraut to munch while polka renditions of popular songs blared in the background.
All this swigging and chomping was to benefit local organization MARE Riding Center, who provide therapeutic horse assisted activities for people with special needs and disabilities.
Kevin Harrer, organizer of Oktoberfest and owner of Ugly Duck Marketing in Bakersfield, said that all net proceeds from Bakersfield Oktoberfest would go to the organization.
Harrer explained his connection to MARE. “ I met them about 8 years, they are great people who do good things for our community.” He elaborated on his desire to help the group. “… they were hurting for funding, and I didn’t want to see the people they help suffer. So that’s what motivated me to give all the net proceeds to MARE.”
Beyond the benefits to MARE, Oktoberfest had many people of the community in good spirits.
Harrer said he was expecting about 1,500 people to attend the event and by 7:00 p.m. aprroximatley 300 people were at the event.
Matthew Oberholzer, 31, was on hand to represent his Swiss heritage. While he felt the beer was a little expensive, $20 for three beer tickets, his favorite malty beverage for the evening was Lengthwise Okotberfest. “It is really delicious, I like getting it every year around this time,” said Oberholzer on the local beer. It’s cheaper too, so that’s a plus.”
“I really like the polka band, especially the song they did about fat girls,” said Oberholzer on traditional German polka with a twist.
Like the German counter-part, Bakersfield Oktoberfest had beer maidens as well dressed in traditional dirndls.
Vanessa Llama, 25 and Bakersfield College Nursing major, was one of the many comely ladies carrying steins and serving shots of Jagermeister.
As her fisrt year volunteering for the event, Llama was encouraged about the event.
“So far it is a lot of fun, I mean the weather is perfect for something like this,” she said remarking on the crisp autumn evening.
When asked about the disposition of male patrons and their reactions to the tradtional costume she had donned, Llama laughed a bit and said, “ I am guessing around 9:30 p.m. things will start to get interesting.”