While COVID-19 has generally canceled most traditional festivals since the pandemic, the Tualatin Lions Club wanted to make sure no one missed out on their annual salute to German food and culture.
So instead of canceling its annual Oktoberfest, the club decided to simply make it a drive-through event to ensure no one missed out on Zenner brand German sausages, Hamburg-style sauerkraut and a German-style apple cake.
The Tualatin Lions Oktobertest is set for Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Tualatin Valley Elks Lodge, 8350 S.W. Warm Springs St. in Tualatin.
"We're trying to make the best of the situation," said Brad King, secretary of the Tualatin Lions Club. "This would have been, I believe, our sixth year of hosting our annual Oktoberfest fundraiser."
Also assisting in the event will be Scouts from Troop 530 and Venture Scouts.
While the pandemic means no sit-down event this year, King said the Lions' plan is to host the event over two nights, which could draw more participants. Full COVID-19 preventative measures — masks, face shields and gloves — will be in place for all Lions volunteers.
"Happily, the front door of the Elks Lodge has a little roof over it, and we'll probably set up our table there," said King. "We have a phone number where we can take text and call orders."
The festival generally takes place a week after the famed celebration in Munich — just in case, King joked, anyone from Germany wants to travel and enjoy the traditional celebration of harvest time in Tualatin.
King said the highlight will be sausages supplied by Zenner's Sausage Co. out of Northwest Portland.
"It's about an eight-inch dinner sausage, German-style, and they're just delicious," he said.
In keeping with tradition, no buns will be available. Everyone will be given a knife and fork instead, along with a nice scoop of sauerkraut for those who want one.
King, a retired member of the Tualatin Police Department, said he knows of another Lions Club that does an Oktoberfest as well, but they use sausage from another provider. "Ours beats the heck out" of theirs, he said.
Also included will be Hamburg style fries, complete with a good spray of vinegar and heavy-duty salt.
"I spent a little time in Hamburg a few years ago, and (the fries are) delicious over there, and we try to replicate that," he said, noting that he observed too what goes into making a good sausage.
King said he has a German background, with a grandmother who taught him about German cooking.
Meanwhile, the Tualatin Elks Lodge will provide an Oktoberfest beer, whether made locally or authentic from Germany, which will be available for people to consume in a nearby tent.
At the same time, apfel kuchen, a German-style apple cake made with local apples, comes with the meal, compliments of the cooking talents of King's wife, Laura.
Plans too are to have a 50/50 raffle at the door. For $5 per ticket, participants will know by that Saturday night if they've won anything.
"In the past years, that's been the better part of $250," King pointed out. "We're hoping to make that even bigger this year, having it over two nights."
Proceeds from the beer garden will benefit the Casey Eye Clinic at OHSU.
The Lions' proceeds go to site and hearing issues and other community projects. (During normal times all the elementary and middle school kids in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, would be getting their vison screened for free by the Tualatin Lions Club, King noted.) The fundraiser also benefits Tualatin Caring Closet, providing students with needed clothing, as well as Tualatin's School House Food Pantry and the Oregon Food Bank.
Meanwhile, King promises to bring out a large speaker system in order to blare out Oktoberfest music loud enough to "irritate my old buddies at the police department."
"We want (residents) to enjoy Oktoberfest, but it's gonna be different this year," King concluded. "We're going to fight our way through this and get back at it."
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