30th annual Oktoberfest another huge success
“It was crazy, it was busy and it was fun. It was packed and we’re still exhausted. We always strive for perfection because we are Germans,” said Susie Zimmer, publicity chairperson.
President Hubert Prem said that the big tent was filled to the last chair on Saturday, and the lesser crowds Sunday meant it was easier to close down.
“I had no problems when we closed up on Sunday at 9 p.m. I made a last call of alcohol at 8:45 and the band played the last song and I called the whole thing off,” Prem said. “I promised we would be back next year, same time, same place. It was a very successful Oktoberfest.”
Even on Tuesday, volunteers were breaking down the tents and attractions and stacking the chairs and tables.
Oktoberfest committee chairman Steve Eichner said that overall more than 4,500 pounds of potatoes were made into potato pancakes, which were sold out by 4 p.m. Sunday. Also, 740 barrels of beer were consumed, and that revenues and attendance records were set, though those numbers weren’t available.
Chairman Tom Isham also said more than 2,700 pounds of brats, 750 pounds of kielbasa, 1,450 pounds of haxen and more than a ton of sauerkraut were served, and that little went to waste.
Those figures don’t take into account inside, where more than 1,000 schnitzel dinners and 2,000 sauerbraten dinners were sold.
Zimmer said the Oktoberfest Facebook page had close to 8,000 likes, with people expressing their love of the event.
Eichner did say he regretted the problems that arose Saturday with traffic and parking.
“We had a line of cars all the way to Santa Barbara, and when they did get in to park there was a line just getting into the gates,” Eichner said. “You hate to have people waiting in line, but when there’s a big fest, that’s part of it.”
Eichner said the goal was to attract 40,000 people, and he said the event was at or close to that number, and that the GASC is poised to give much to charity.
“Every year our best promotion is what we did the year before, so if we had a good one last year, if they couldn’t come last year, they make sure they come this year,” Eichner said. “One good Oktoberfest breeds another.”
Zimmer said the advertising reached out to the Hispanic community through radio and TV, and that they could see it in the crowds.
Isham said the volunteers were the heroes of the event, going above and beyond to make Oktoberfest bigger and better.
“They come an hour before their shifts start, and when it’s over the cleaned up. Planning starts in May and our advertising budget is enormous,” Isham said. “It’s an enormous task and we have dedicated volunteers, some of which aren’t club members, and they’ve come for years.”