Redstone Arsenal’s 26th annual Oktoberfest is a wrap and was a huge success, said Stephanie Stone, marketing manager at Family MWR, its planning organization.
During the ceremonial tap of the first keg on Friday, warm welcomes were offered to the growing crowd by Derrick Gould, MWR chief, and Garrison Commander Col. Brian Cozine.
Both thanked area corporate sponsors and the Redstone teams who made the event possible,
and Cozine thanked the audience.
“This is really for you,” he said.
The King Guys Brass Oktoberfest Band led the first toast in German, familiar to many in the Festhalle: “Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, zicke zache, hoi, hoi, hoi,” followed by hours of oompah music.
Thousands of festivalgoers enjoyed the German music, rock ‘n’ roll, carnival rides and games, craft beer, and a variety of German fare, beer and wine through the weekend, Stone said, adding that Mother Nature also contributed good weather for the weekend, with the exception of showers on Saturday afternoon.
Overall, “It was one of our best Oktoberfests ever,” Stone said.
Named in honor of the German Volksfest held each September in Munich, the Arsenal’s event has become one of MWR’s most popular events.
Many families return year after year, including Jordan Jefferson of Huntsville, his wife Tiffany, and children Anna, 4, and James, 10 months.
“When I was a kid we came here,” said Jefferson, an engineer for Perry Labs who was born in Germany and loves the ethnic Oktoberfest fare.
Chad Durrance of Huntsville, a budget analyst at the Arsenal, was also at the festival with his wife, Emily, who owns an accounting services business, and their children Joshua, 5, and Natalie, 2.
As they emerged from the Dumbo ride, they all had the same adjective to describe how they felt: “dizzy.”
Friends and co-workers Alex Carley and Brandon Adams, engineers at Redstone, each bought a liter of German-style hefeweizen beer and clicked their mugs with a “cheers.”
Everyone in the community, including those who normally don’t have access to the installation, is invited each year to attend the event, which charges a general admission (and a separate admission for unlimited rides), free entertainment and free parking.
Many attendees donned lederhosen (German leather breeches) or dirndls (traditional German dresses) as a nod to tradition.
On Saturday, the Biergarten stage took on a more American flair with the crowd-pleasing rock sounds of The Pollies of Muscle Shoals and Buck’d Up, based in Huntsville.
Other entertainment included music from DJ Slim Robb and karaoke sponsored by WZYP.
Stone said proceeds from the annual Oktoberfest help fund Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs on post throughout the year.
“We can’t thank the community enough for joining us,” she said. “See you next year!”