"Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi” couldn’t be chanted enough on Saturday night as the crowd hoisted their steins as the Stanton VFW’s transformed into a German pub in honor of Oktoberfest.
With the aroma of sauerkraut lingering and live Polka music courtesy of the Clarkson-based Polka Commotion, traditional attire made the night even more realistic. Many women donned classic dirndls and wore flower hair rings, along with tied aprons. A bow to the right signalling she was married or in a long-term relationship. Several men wore authentic leather Lederhosen with suspenders, topped with a Bavarian hat and feather.
But this night wasn’t just for adults. There was plenty of root beer served, much to the delight of Macy and Hanzel Schellpeper, who are fifth- and fourth-grade daughters of Steve and Krissy Schellpeper of Stanton.
Like their parents, the youth were also dressed in traditional German attire, which Hanzel said was one of the best parts of the night since she gets to dress up twice this month — once for Oktoberfest and again for Halloween.
Hanzel said the Polka music “makes my legs move” while Macy loved the food, which included brats, schnitzel and gravy, pork loin, sauerkraut, potato salad (a hot dish with potatoes and bacon) and rye bread. Of course, it wouldn’t be a traditional feast without German chocolate cake topped with coconut frosting.
Macy said she loved the German food, especially “brats, pork loin, sauerkraut, potatoes — all of it — gravy.”
“I love sauerkraut. I eat it at home all the time,” she said. “I put it on potatoes and pour gravy on it. It’s delicious. I love it.”
Hanzel said she looks forward to the event. Saturday marked the third annual event for the Stanton VFW.
“We always come to this,” Hanzel said. “This is so much fun every year.”
Their parents agreed that it’s important for their children to experience the traditions of Oktoberfest from the food to music. Because it’s a fundraiser for the VFW, it’s also a great way to instill community involvement.
“It’s absolutely essential that they get to learn about tradition and heritage,” Krissy Schellpeper said. “They need to be involved in community things.”
Schellpeper said her Polish background isn’t the same as her husband’s, which is a combination of German, Cech and Swedish, so this is another way for their kids to learn about heritage.
“People lose track of traditions because of the busy world we’re in,” she said. “We want them to learn about these traditions and hear Polka music. There’s a lot to learn and experience with their family heritage. We have a lot of family here, so it’s important to us.”
The event featured several traditional Oktoberfest events, including the the stein hoisting contest, where challengers held a three-pound stein filled with 32 ounces of lager out in front of them to see who could hoist it the longest. Youth steins were filled with root beer.
Steve Schellpeper won the men’s competition with Courtney Farrier crowned the women’s champion.
Scott Hallaway, who organized Oktoberfest, said he started the event in Stanton three years ago. While he is a retired Air Force veteran, his wife, Lori, is from Stanton. He said Oktoberfest is a great way to celebrate the fall harvest and come together as a community.
“It brings the people of the community together. There is a lot of German heritage in the area,” he said.