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Beer, bratwurst and Bavarian culture

By Celina Ip

Beer, bratwurst and more than 200 years of Bavarian history were at Pembroke’s fingertips during the annual Oktoberfest.


The original Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Munich, Germany, lasting two weeks and ending on the first Sunday in October.

Back in 1810, it developed from a massive party that welcomed the citizens of Munich to celebrate the wedding of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Prince Ludwig, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The event became an annual celebration and two centuries later it turned into the modern-day Oktoberfest. In Munich, 16-day festival is a celebration of food, beer and all things Bavarian – with similar parties held around the world.

For the past 14 years, the Pembroke’s Germania Club has been hosting the annual event which serves to celebrate German heritage with the larger community.

Hundreds – proudly sporting their colourful dirndl dresses or lederhosen – filed into Germania Hall as members of the Ottawa Valley's German community, and those out for a good time, gathered to partake in the festivities.

The event began at 1 p.m. and within an hour the hall was crowded with over 200 attendees who arrived just in time to witness Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay perform the ceremonial tapping of the keg to officially get things started.

“I’ve been doing this for the past three years – since I became mayor,” said LeMay. “It's a great day and lots of fun for all members of the community, not only the German population of the city or the county, but everyone enjoys coming to an Oktoberfest – it's party time.”

Following the keg tapping, 2016 Miss Oktoberfest Amy Cleveland passed on the crown and honour to the new Miss Oktoberfest – Christina Schramm.

“I’m very excited to be the new Miss Oktoberfest because I’ve been in Canada for only five years and I’m really happy to bring my Canadian life and my German life together,” said Schramm. “I’ve been coming to this Oktoberfest for five years, ever since I came to Canada, and I’m also teaching German classes at this club. I love coming to this Oktoberfest because it’s not only about celebrating German culture but it’s about the whole concept of being together and having a good time – Canadians and Germans coming together to celebrate, have a good time with good company and drinking good beer.”

Germania Club vice-president Shannon Eder-Boucher expressed that they were pleased to name Schramm as this year’s Miss Oktoberfest as she is a proud German-Canadian who has been greatly involved with the club for the past five years.

“We're always looking for someone who is going to add something new to our club and someone we know is going to to be around for years to come to be a part of our German family,” said Eder-Boucher. “Christina has been teaching German at our club for the last two years so we all knew her and knew she'd be an awesome Miss Oktoberfest. She has lots of energy, she’s very eloquent and beautiful.”

As festivities continued on until midnight, party-goers drank beer from their steins, feasted on traditional Oktoberfest food and danced the night away in their colourful Bavarian dresses.


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