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Germany comes to town at Oktoberfest

By Staff | Sep 23, 2016

On Sept. 18, the Bavarian Inn celebrated its 39th year hosting Oktoberfest.

For the past 39 years, the Bavarian Inn has continued the tradition of bringing a piece of Germany to Shepherdstown with traditional German cuisine, beer, and entertainment for a daylong festival.

Oktoberfest, in Germany, is a traditional German festival that takes place over the course of September and October and shows off the best of German culture.

The Oktoberfest originated in the year 1810 as a part of the wedding festivities of Bavarian King Ludwig I. and his wife Therese, according to the official site for Oktoberfest. The German people enjoyed the festivities so much that it became an annual event.

Although the event in Shepherdstown only takes place for one day, instead of a month like in Germany, people still come out to experience the cultural festivities.

A large percentage of the visitors come from Shepherdstown and its surrounding areas, but many come from as far as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Lauren Barber, 22, a Frederick, Maryland resident who traveled for the festivities, said that she thinks Oktoberfest at the Bavarian Inn brings cultural awareness to Shepherdstown.

“I think this Oktoberfest has some really great historical aspects but they also are bringing in some contemporary venders, which I appreciate,” Barber said.

Among the entertainment were the Schuhplattler und Gebirgstrachten Verein “Washingtonia” Dance Club who provided traditional Oktoberfest dances, music and other performances.

According to the dance club’s website, several friends who immigrated to the Washington, D.C. area from Bavaria, Germany, founded the club in 1923.

Charles Volkman, 85, who is the president of Washingtonia Dance Club, said that he has been dancing with the group for about 55 years.

“After I got out of the Marine Corps, after Korea, I sang and I studied classical voice. Being a bass, it was all mostly German that’s I was studying and singing,” Volkman said.

“I eventually gravitated to the Bavarian Restaurant in Washington, D.C. and my friends and I used to sing and dance all night long there. The schuhplattlers used to hang out there and that’s how I got tied up with them,” Volkman explained.

This year, among the festivities, was a mixture of Shepherd University students and Shepherdstown residents.

Robert Hall, 21, a Shepherdstown resident said his favorite part of the festival was the traditional German food and drinks.

“The prices of everything at Oktoberfest are delightful, the music is great, the dancing is interesting and the people are awesome,” Hall said.

Tess Hyre, a Shepherd University student, said her favorite part of Oktoberfest was the dancing.

“I think the dancing was cool and I’ve never really seen German dancing with partners before,” Hyre said.

“I think Oktoberfest brings awareness to the different cultural events that can happen in Shepherdstown and it brings the community together by giving us all a chance to have fun and celebrate,” Hyre added.

For information and updates on next year’s Oktoberfest Festival, follow the Bavarian Inn on Facebook or visit their website www.bavarianinnwv.com.