The sixth annual BAFB Oktoberfest celebration is in the books and it just keeps on getting better each year! The volunteers and groups that worked on this year's festival outdid themselves.
The Oktboerfest celebration is a huge fundraiser for Operation Bright Holiday which sends airmen home for Christmas. Last year they were able to send 43 airmen home all over the world for Christmas.
There were a few changes this year: the tent set-up was different and much better. There was much more room and even at the peak there was plenty of seating.
There was a beer garden area this year with high tables and umbrellas.
Inside, there was an expanded jumble of activities for the kids, called "Kinderfest," which included a jump rope contest, Bingo, and other kid-friendly activities.
When we arrived, I had to go find my friend Rose; she's always working at the entrance, so she was easy to find:
She's one of the sweetest, strongest ladies I know, and is great fun! We found someone to take our picture for us:
She had work to do, though, so I had to move on.
Near the entrance, and later moved to the middle of the dance floor, was a huge collection box for donations for the Operation Bright Holiday fund.
I really wanted to see that thing just stuffed with cash by the end of the night!
Also new this year was a home-brew competition.
There were three contenders set up in tents on the deck by Hangar 2. There was a raspberry Oktoberfest, an IPA, and I missed what the third one was.
I walked around and took some pictures (which rubbed a blister on my foot because I was wearing ridiculous shoes) and gave a silent nod to my friend Joy as I walked by the Hangar. We lost Joy to cancer last month and this was the first Oktoberfest without her. I missed her.
Your $25 ticket to Oktoberfest included your dinner, an Oktoberfest mug, a raffle ticket, and two beers. Quite a deal! All the food was set up inside, near the Kinderfest activities, and it was excellent. I remember the first year: it was set up outside the club on the deck. They basically had potato salad, brats, and pretzels. They've come a long, long way in six years! This year we had jaeger schnitzel, brats, cucumber-dill salad, German potato salad, buttered green beans with fried onions, and a huge pretzel.
I also bought a commemorative mug; even though they gave us plastic ones with our ticket, I liked the big, glass one. Steve bought a t-shirt and I bought a mug. Go figure.
The regular band for this event is Dallas-based AlpenMusikanten, and boy do these guys stay busy this time of year! They are constantly doing Oktoberfest events all over the country. They are a lot of fun and really work the crowd. They play literally everything from Johnny Cash to traditional polkas. The kids loved them, too!
By this time the crowd was about at its peak:
I was told they sold over 800 tickets and I believe most of them showed up. I know some people buy tickets just because it's a good cause and don't actually attend, but I think they had a huge crowd last night.
Steve's son Josh and his "Feyonce," Heather, came with us; this picture is a little blurry but I like it anyway:
They are getting married next month and we are very excited!
After dinner the dancing started picking up a bit. DJ Larry asked me if I'd learned the "Thriller" dance yet; of course not. Maybe by next year. Larry is a great DJ and we love his tunes! He knows how to keep the crowd on their feet all night long.
We did the Chicken Dance a couple of times, and they played The Wobble, of course, but I skipped that one!
Steve did the Hokey Pokey, and Heather and I did the "Electric Slide."
Yes, I'm barefooted. Had to come out of those shoes.
One minor glitch this year was that, for some reason, they kept blowing breakers. The band never missed a beat, though, and just kept on playing whenever it happened. Eventually they figured out to have someone near the box and so the electricity would come right back on. Through the night, though, the crowd kind of got into it and so whenever the lights would go, we'd all whoop and cheer and then they'd come back on and we'd carry on. I caught these guys trying to diagnose the problem:
Another fun crowd-moment was when they played "Freebird" we all held up the flashlights on our phones, swayed back and forth, and sang along!
The night would not be complete without the annual Oktoberfest games and this year they had a yodeling contest and a yard-drinking contest. If they did the keg roll this year, I missed it. And I guess they decided not enough folks were dressed up for the costume contest. I won that one two years in a row! Both years I won gift certificates for fine meals at the casinos. Last year, I lost to a guy dressed like a keg! No costume contest this year though. Boo.
But the yard drinking contest was fun and they had a lot of participants for that one!
And here they go:
Watch the guy in green:
They also had a shield decorating contest and this one was the winner:
It was excellent and I thought very well done.
Shortly after that it was time for the "Guacamole Song" which required volunteers:
And, of course, the Hand Jive was next:
Col. Anderson absolutely ROCKS the Hand Jive every year!
The night went on, we danced, we took a "selfie":
...and before you know it, we were again at the end of the night.
First to come, last to leave - EVERY year! And that's the way we roll.
I spoke to one of the organizers last night about the possibility of making online donations to Operation Bright Holiday and when I get that information from her I will post it here if anyone is interested in helping to send an airman home for the holidays. By the end of the night their collection box was by no means full but people were dropping bills into it all night long. I have no idea what they ended up raising but all the tip jars at the beer stands were designated for Operation Bright Holiday as well. Kudos to all the volunteers and organizers this year, and thanks for your hard work! We had a ball!
Once again, we survived Oktoberfest! Until next year...
The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Natchitoches Christmas FestivalTake a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Trip to the 2012 Grand Cane Pioneer Day and Christmas Parade
Take a Trip to the 2012 Grand Cane Pioneer Day and Christmas Parade
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation