Family Friendly Fest Fun for All

Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Just as ancient German communities gathered in scores to mark the commencement of their harvest season, local students, children, and adults of all ages convened at the Hacienda de las Flores on October 26 for the 6th annual Oktoberfest, a scaled down adaptation of the traditional 16-day-long German festival.

Although the Hacienda Foundation’s celebration is a single day, the foundation keeps with German tradition in hiring a live Oompah band each year. German band Schwabenland performed for the second time at the Oktoberfest. “We played the Beer Barrel Polka and other things that are probably recognized by most of the people,” said Tom Lander, Schwabenland guitarist and vocalist. “A lot of them are German songs with German titles that people wouldn’t recognize.”

Schwabenland featured an Alphorn, an extremely large, archaic wooden instrument, at times throughout the celebration. “Recently some people have figured out how to make them telescopic. This is a modern version of a very old instrument, and they used to use it in the Alps to communicate,” explained Lander.

The festival also boasted a new event: the cupcake walk. The substitution of a large cupcake in place of the traditional prize, an entire cake, ensured that each participant would receive a reward.

Freshmen Anna Jiang and Patricia Bagalihog, members of the LEO Club, volunteered at the cupcake walk. “Kids walk on the numbers with the music playing and we stop the music,” Bagalihog explained. “We have a different theme for every round. One of the them is jump around the numbers, or walk like a zombie. When your number gets picked you get the big cupcake.”

Students from Miramonte and Acalanes also volunteered at the event. Sophomore Samantha Brown, a member of the Acalanes KEY Club, helped out at the bouncy-houses. “I’ve never known about this [festival], but I think it will be really fun. My friend’s from Germany and she really likes it so I think it’d be really cool if we celebrated things like that,” Brown said.

Children also enjoyed painting small pumpkins and dressing up in traditional German clothing. Although Bagalihog wishes that the festival would incorporate more activities, she appreciates how family-friendly the celebration is. “Kids need to have fun; they need to have activities every once in a while,” she said.

Junior Olivia Carver and her mother volunteered through the National Charity League. “I am serving food to all the patrons and just helping out with different things around the area,” said Carver. “There’s Bratwurst, Sourkraut, a bunch of different kinds of mustard, hot dogs, and apples and stuff,” she added. Carver believes that the Oktoberfest is an effective way for the community to “branch out a little bit.”

Patty Alisea from Mechanics Bank Moraga helped serve ice cream and apple strudel to customers. “This is my very first time, it’s a lovely event,” she said. “They needed more people from my bank to volunteer and I like to give back to my community, I like to be involved.”

Many of the German visitors flaunted their heritage with customary clothing. “I’m loving seeing everyone dressed up,” Alisea said.

“I didn’t know it was such a big thing but it’s really cool. The whole community is coming and hanging lout and experiencing cultural stuff,” Carver said. “It’s cool to see everyone come to support something like this.”