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Oktoberfest draws thousands to Cape Coral over two weekends

By Staff | Nov 1, 2011

Day-long rain Friday brought flooding to the German American Club off Pine Island Road, but it did little to stop thousands of revelers from checking out the second weekend of Oktoberfest, the most popular festival in the city of Cape Coral.

Final numbers were still being tallied Monday, according to Paul Mills, Oktoberfest chairman, but he estimated that between 34,000 to 35,000 people enjoyed German culture, drank adult beverages, sampled the cuisine and danced to non-stop live entertainment.

“Overall, it was a really successful year,” Mills added.

It was the 26th year for the festival, which draws attendance not only from around Lee County but statewide.

Spanning two weekends, Oktoberfest is also known for importing a European band that plays authentic German favorites, which lights up the crowd underneath the big tent.

Austrian band D’Hirscheggar had people jumping up to do the “Chicken Dance” all weekend long amid shouts of “We want more beer!”

“The band from Austria was incredibly good,” Mills added.

And speaking of beer, Oktoberfest had no shortage of beverages, as domestic offerings were paired up with imported German beers and sold all over the German American Club’s grounds.

Foods like bratwurst, knockwurst and potato pancakes were available at various booths on the club grounds, too, or people could go inside the big hall for a more traditional, sit-down dinner with friends and family.

What ever course attendees plotted for their evening, they all came away with the same result – a grin on their faces, their belly full of good food and their legs tired from all the non-stop dancing.

“The numbers were down because of the rain. Our garden was flooded and we had a tough time finding places for people to park, but it was a pretty good turnout,” Mills added. “People loved the food and had a great time.”

Mills also thanked the Cape Coral Police Department, which, he said, was instrumental in keeping Oktoberfest fun and safe for everyone.

“The police and EMS people were incredibly good,” Mills added.

The German American Club’s annual Oktoberfest celebration opened last weekend, Oct. 21-23, and concluded this past weekend, Oct. 28-30.