Editor’s note: Gimme 5 is a five-question interview on a topic of local interest.
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Title: Programs director at the Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Talks about: Oktoberfest.
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Can you give me a brief rundown of the event?
Oktoberfest is a three-day celebration of authentic German cuisine, music, dress and much more.
This event is fun for all ages, complete with kids inflatables, games and entertainment. While one stage is dedicated to polka, two stages will be filled with live music from country to rock ‘n’ roll.
The event kicks off with the announcement of this year’s Oktoberfest Festmeister and Festmeisterin at the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery at noon on Friday. Following the announcement, attendees will parade up to the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds for the tapping of the golden keg.
What is new this year?
A medallion hunt. Leading up to the event, one clue will be released per day (today-Thursday) on the Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest Facebook Page. The winner who finds the medallion will receive a $100 in Chippewa Chamber Bucks.
There’s a keg rolling competition. Teams of two will compete to race against the clock as they push a partially filled keg down the course (noon to 5 p.m. Saturday).
In addition to an array of Leinenkugel’s products, we will also be featuring a beer from Chippewa Falls’ newest brewery, Brewster Bros. Brewing Co.
The Chippewa Falls Optimist Club will hold a free kids birdhouse making craft workshop on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Leinenkugel’s brewmaster John Hensley will hold a home-brew demo on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Students from the UW-Eau Claire German Club will host a stammitsch at 3 p.m. on Saturday, which invites attendees to try out their German language skills.
What is the one thing you look forward to at Oktoberfest and why?
Gemutlichkeit (friendship, warmth and good cheer). Between the Oktoberfest royalty, committee and greater Chippewa community, it’s great to see everyone come together to enjoy this festival and spend the weekend in high spirits.
How has the event grown over the years?
The Oktoberfest committee is dedicated to keeping this fresh and fun for all ages while at the same time holding on to traditions. Over the years, fun and unique competitions like the Frank’s sauerkraut eating contest, stein-holding competition and the live Glockenspiel, which is choreographed and performed by all local community members.
What is your favorite authentic German cuisine at Oktoberfest and why?
Potato dumplings. It’s a delicious comfort food to enjoy as the weather turns a bit cooler.
— Ben Rueter