WL Oktoberfest returns with two days of music, fun
West Linn's annual Oktoberfest event is rooted in tradition.
Though organizer Alice Richmond makes slight changes every time fall rolls around — for 2017, the event has expanded to two days — people return year after year for the familiar sights, sounds and smells that evoke the traditions of Scandinavia, Bavaria and the Swiss Alps. There's the classic garb — lederhosen for men and dirndl for women — to go along with beers and brats supplied by the Oregon Traveling Taphouse.
And, at the center of it all, there are the tunes performed by the Alpine Echoes Band. The band will return for its fifth year, performing both Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30.
"We just try to make it fun," says band member Jeanette Bauman. "People grew up with polka music … it brings back happy memories with, hopefully, happy people."
The Alpine Echoes Band does everything it can to stay true to the origins of its music.
"Our singer does sing in German," Bauman said. "She likes to do that, and she feels that it's important to recognize that culture. We do other Scandinavian-type music, but not usually at Oktoberfest. We try to keep it as what is expected — German tradition."
Bauman has played the accordion since she was a child, but joined Alpine Echoes Band by happenstance.
"I was doing a fundraiser and looking for inexpensive entertainment," she said. "They said, 'We'll play (at the fundraiser) for you if you come and play with us.' They recruited me like that, and it's been an interesting experience. I enjoy polka music and it's fun to watch people enjoy themselves."