The weather was almost as good as last year, and the crowds were nearly as good as well.
Last year’s event, which benefitted from amazing weather, set a standard that will be very difficult to beat.
That translated into a very good first weekend of the 30th annual Oktoberfest at the German-American Social Club, one of the oldest and a cornerstone event in the city of Cape Coral.
The bands played, the beer flowed and people had a great time enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the best German beer and food Southwest Florida can offer.
Miss Oktoberfest, Nakita Chadwick, spent the weekend mingling with the patrons, taking pictures and drinking German beer, her stein half-full of the good stuff.
“It’s been great. We’ve had an awesome crowd, great camaraderie, dancing and great family fun,” Chadwick said. “I have the easiest and best job here. I get to have a few drinks and talk to everyone. It’s the most enjoyable.”
She was quickly joined by Reese Jones of Venice, who took a selfie of himself with the queen. He said he remembered the Oktoberfests he enjoyed when stationed in Europe.
“I’ve been to the ones in Munich and Italy and decided to try this one,” Jones said. “It’s not much different from the ones they have in Europe. Not as big as Munich, but still a good time.”
Linda Yorde, of North Fort Myers, was there was her husband admiring the music of Kawogl in the big tent. Like Jones, she has also been to the big show in Munich.
“This is probably our 10th time here. We love the German music,” Yorde said. “We’ve been to the one in Munich a few times as well, it’s not quite the same, but it’s the same atmosphere.”
There was plenty of great music to be had from bands such as Peter & Edith, Kawogl. Hafenkapelle and Zimmerer Kapelle, who all performed in the big tent and the Bavarian Garden.
Hans Herter, the singer for the Zimmerer Kapelle, said his band is mostly comprised of carpenters from Germany in a city that produces carpenters. They played the German favorites and more.
“It’s great to bring the Oktoberfest spirit to Florida. We do traditional music in the day and in the evening we do more rock from Deep Purple and AC/DC,” Herter said.
Dave Thornton has played with Hafenkapelle for a decade. He played the Alpenhorn with Carol Ploof and Glenn Ahlert.
“I love the music and I have a great amount of respect for the people in the club. They’re great volunteers,” Thornton said. “This event is great for Cape Coral and for the region.”
Lenny Nesta, a GASC member and outgoing city of Cape Coral councilman, knows the importance for this event.
“People from all over come in and enjoy it. We have people from Germany and Canada here and they admire how big this is,” Nesta said. “The weather has been great and we’re looking forward to the same next weekend.”
There are still three more days of Oktoberfest coming next weekend and with early forecasts looking promising, it would behoove those who wish to attend to do so, as there’s only so much Oktoberfest beer, which is shipped in from Germany.
“We are every dependent on the weather, and the weather has been fine. As long as we don’t have rain, we’ll have plenty of guests,” GASC president Hubert Prem said. “The weather for next weekend we’re told is going to very good. We can’t sell Oktoberfest beer in November.”
The festival continues Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight; noon to midnight on Saturday; and then noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $6 at the gate; children 12 and under are free.
The German-American Social Club is at 2101 S.W. Pine Island Road.