Oaks Park creates 'Drive-thru' Oktoberfest for pandemic year
Famous across the Pacific Northwest, and a tradition since 1990, the Oaks Park Oktoberfest became yet another COVID-19 coronavirus casualty in 2020.
"Indeed, we're sad that the COVID-19 pandemic has kept Oaks Amusement Park closed all season," acknowledged Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director – and the ever-ebullient hostess of the Oktoberfest celebrations – Emily MacKay.
"When we learned we couldn't be dancing to the beat of the Polkatones in the Festhalle, or raise our glasses in a 'prost' to the season, we knew we still had to do something to celebrate the season," MacKay told THE BEE.
So, for just one weekend only, October 10 and 11, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park offered a drive-through pick-up celebration they called "Oktoberfest-to-go", featuring their Portland-crafted German favorites, Edelweiss Sausage & Deli knockwurst from the Brooklyn neighborhood, and a growler-filling station for Lents-based Zoiglhaus Brewing Company beer.
Supporters – some 150 families – participated; each carload received a full meal consisting of four giant sausages and buns, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and apple strudel for dessert. (For larger families. it was possible to pre-order larger quantities.)
"With the loss of our entire 2020 season, this event goes a long way to help keep things afloat until we're able to reopen," remarked MacKay afterwards. "We exceeded our goal for the number of orders, and the community expression of support and hope for our future was a big pick-me-up in these very difficult times.
"People told us how much they'd missed Oaks Park, and especially the annual Oktoberfest celebration; and they told us that they would be back to 'play with us' again, as soon as we can open," MacKay reported.Whether or not you were among those who drove through to get an Oktoberfest meal that weekend, you still can get into the spirit with YouTube videos of Oaks Park's usual Germanic celebration, online – www.oakspark.com/oktoberfest-playlist
The dates announced for next year's hoped-for return to a live, on-site Oktoberfest at Oaks Park are September 24-26.
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