German-American Social Club kicks off Oktoberfest with party; Opening weekend
Wilkommen to the 2008 Oktoberfest Celebration, which kicked off Thursday night at the German-American Club’s Festive Welcoming Party. The annual event draws thousands to Cape Coral to enjoy specialty German food, music and, of course, beer.
Members of the club expect crowds as large as 30,000 to attend Oktoberfest over the next two weekends, although the kickoff party was a small celebration for members of the club, elected officials and local dignitaries.
Kimberly Schlachta, a member of the club and a former Miss Oktoberfest, said the club expected 150 people to attend Thursday, but 175 showed up.
“It’s a kickoff party for the VIPs, charter members of the club, local dignitaries and for sponsors,” said Schlachta.
The Maselheimer Musikanten — a band imported directly from Germany — headlined the party, while local band Hafenkapelle, who has performed at every Oktoberfest in Cape Coral, opened the evening with traditional German music and polka.
Guests Thursday were given the opportunity to enter a raffle for two free tickets to Germany compliments of Air Berlin, a major sponsor of this year’s Oktoberfest, and a free car from Volkswagen of Fort Myers.
Members of the club were adorned in traditional dress and this year’s Miss Oktoberfest, Barbara Gennity, also mingled through the crowd.
Official Oktoberfest action opens tonight with the Grand Opening Parade at 8 p.m. and lasts throughout this weekend and from Oct. 24-26. Different musicians will take turns on the main stage under the tent all day and night, while attendees can enjoy jaeger schnitzel, sauerbraten or schweinhaxen with a cool Warsteiner.
Tickets to enter the event are $5 in advance and $6 at the gate. For more information, visit the Web site for the German-American Social Club at: www.gasc-capecoral.com.