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Wednesday October 4th, 2017

Posted at 6:05pm

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As fall rolls around, an international tradition will soon be celebrated in Windsor.

Gearing up to showcase their cultures, the Bavarian and Teutonia Clubs are readying their respective Octoberfest celebrations. With the latter’s set to take place later this month, the Bavarian Club will kick things off from Thursday, October 5th to the 7th, before wrapping up from Thursday, October 12th to the 14th.

Taking place at the Heimat Windsor Banquet Centre (located at 1367 Drouillard Road,) the first night will have a special kick-off.

“We will have the tapping of the first keg done by Mayor Dilkens,” said Bavarian Club Costume Director/Dance Instructor, Tracey Stiller. “He will use the traditional method of hammering a spout into the beer barrel while proclaiming ‘O’ Zapft is.’ This is a very important part of the Oktoberfest celebration – only after this ceremony can the beer begin to flow. The Bavarian Club dancers will perform immediately after and are scheduled to perform all six days of the Oktoberfest.”

Local bands Harmony & Musik Meisters and a break-off group from the greater Windsor Concert band will play Octoberfest hits on weekends as well. The Bavarian Club has also formed a partnership with The Red Shoe Society to put on a fundraiser on Friday, October 6th. The charity’s members and guests will enjoy the festivities while raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.

This will mark the Bavarian Club’s second celebration of Octoberfest at the Heimat Windsor Banquet Centre. Since forming in 2001, they previously took part in the Teutonia Club’s event until the building’s closure.

Now their current home holds 150 people in the hall and another 125 in the Biergarten. If weather co-operates, the facility will be open inside and out: This will allow the club to provide traditional table service, band and dancing inside along with a walk up bar and DJ outside

Paying attention to every detail, planning starts the day after the previous year’s Octoberfest.

“Our #1 goal is to preserve the customs and traditions of Bavaria,” said Stiller. “We do this through our authentic clothing, music, dance and special festivals. Every time we gather for an event, whether Bockbierfest, Maifest, Carrousel of Nations – Bavarian Village or just a night in the Biergarten throughout the summer we always find people who comment on how they are so proud that their heritage is being preserved in such a positive way. At one of the events a lady got teared up because even the wallets the servers use are from Germany and are the same ones you will find there. Those little details do not go unnoticed by our guests.”

Another big part of the event is entertainment. Highlighting their dance skills, children who take part are front and centre to provide a good time for everyone. Practicing weekly, the public can see the results as they perform everything they know throughout the six day event.

Beyond that, a popular aspect of these festivities are the contests for guests.

“Our contests are always a huge success as well,” said Stiller. “Getting the audience involved in things like holding a full 1L beer mug filled with water the longest or holding a keg over your head. It makes for some great entertainment, especially if your friend is in the lead.”

For anyone still unsure about attending, Stiller had this to say.

“This is the closest experience to the Munich Oktoberfest they will get without taking a plane,” she said. “There’s also one litre Masskrug of beer, servers in traditional lederhosen and dirndls, Bratwurst handcrafted by Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Company and Schnitzel to name a few reasons to come.”

All Octoberfest events start at 4pm with advance tickets at $7 or a ten-pack for $60. October 6th and 7th are almost sold out, but tickets are $10 at the door if available.

Those interested can also visit the event’s facebook page for more information.

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