Greenfield’s first Oktoberfest may have been one of the best events staged in our community’s history. Not because of crowd size, there have been bigger crowds, but if
measured in the plain fun everyone was having, few past events could top it.
Residents of Hearth & Care and Edgewood Manor nursing homes were out in force and when the Zinzinnati Bier Band began their first set with Beer Barrel Polka, you could see from the smiles on their aged faces that this was to be a wunderbar evening.
The Greenfield Lions Club manned the food concession offering grilled mettwurst, bratwurst, and hot dogs. Optional toppings were a choice of kraut or a mix of sautéed peppers and onions. A Zinzinnati favorite, goetta, was being fried on a genuine 25″ Greenfield Product’s Big Daddy Skillet. We ordered ours extra crispy and with a little mustard it was the first goetta we’ve eaten that we thought was really exceptional. We’re pretty sure the skillet made the difference.
To fill out the menu the Lions offered two versions of potato salad (made by a German resident of Greenfield), one mustard based and one a traditional vinegar based German style. The dessert menu consisted of cream filled donuts, cream horns, strudel and German chocolate cakes.
Always the food critic, my only suggestion to the Lions is that next year, make a trip to The Findlay Market in Zinzinnati and buy some real bratwurst and get away from that white
stuff posing as a brat. If price is the issue, charge more but make a higher quality brat a menu option. As special as this event was and can continue to be, everything should be special, especially the food. And how about some genuine German brown mustard instead of the French’s yellow.
Now to the biergarten. All contained on the property of the Yellow Rose Bed and Breakfast, it included three choices of beer and three of wine. Prices were fair and I especially liked that one of the beer choices was a good dark German import. The Knights of Columbus of Saint Benignus Catholic Church operated the biergarten and did a great job.
Next to the tap wagon was a large tent with tables and chairs along with an area for people to stand and mingle about. The Zinzinnati Bier Band was set up elsewhere on the Yellow Rose’s lawn but it occasionally went mobile and took the music into the assembled crowds.
Jay “Pokey” Post had his sound system up and playing a recorded variety of both German and Celtic music. Someone had provided young children with colored chalk and all over the intersection there were small groups of children drawing on the pavement. Later I noticed a good many of them dancing to the music oblivious of the traffic light over their heads. I’ve been asked if anyone was doing the chicken dance. Truthfully, I don’t know what a chicken dance is and was too busy visiting with friends at the biergarten to notice. Maybe next year they can have a chicken dance contest.
I’m pretty sure many questioned how such an event, one permitting alcohol consumption, would turn out. As I’ve said in other articles, a biergarten isn’t an invitation to get trashed. It is an opportunity to have a couple of adult beverages, some good food, and rub shoulders with old friends. I only observed one uniformed officer and from what I saw, it was one too many.
Everywhere one looked, both inside and outside the roped off biergarten, people were gathering and enjoying each other’s company. Shortly before the evening ended I was talking to some younger people and one of them said, “This is great and I think we all know we have to police ourselves.” Another offered, “I think the elders in the crowd would quickly step forward if any problem arose.” As I looked out over the crowd all I saw were good people having a good time. There seemed a consensus that this was too important to do doing anything that might ruin its future prospects.
I’ve also been asked how many people were there? I’m not very good at this but I wouldn’t be surprised that during the course of the four-hour evening as many as a thousand people may have passed through the intersection. People came and people went, making it difficult to know just how large an event this was. But, as I said earlier, it wasn’t about size, it was all about smiles.
And speaking of smiles, I can’t describe the smiles in that crowd as, towards the end of the
evening, the Zinzinnati Bier Band struck up Jimmy Buffett’s, Cheeseburger in Paradise. Is there any limit to how happy a person could become hearing an oompah band play Jimmy Buffett?
Finally, kudos to every single person who had anything to do with making Oktoberfest in Greenfield happen. The event itself was the brain child of Greening Greater Greenfield and the bulk of the proceeds will go to furthering their projects and events within the geographical area of our school district. Dankeschon!