By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2010
Tulsa Oktoberfest Executive Director Amber Hinkle displays a festive poster from an earlier event.
It is time again for Tulsa Oktoberfest! And here’s an interesting tidbit we bet you didn’t know: the famous chicken was originally a duck. The well-known dance associated with Oktoberfest originated in Germany as the duck dance. When Tulsans were introduced to their first Oktoberfest event 32 years ago, participants did the duck dance. Six years later, organizers could not find any duck costumes to rent, but their Channel 2 sponsor furnished them with a chicken costume. Therefore, the fondly associated chicken dance was born. Tulsa-bred, the chicken dance has become associated with similar events all across America.
Tulsa’s Oktoberfest was rated as one of the top five fall festivals in the United States in 2009, according to “People” magazine. Recently, “USA Today” named Tulsa Oktoberfest one of the Top 10 Oktoberfests in North America. The event site is River West Festival Park, located at 2100 S. Jackson Ave. Oktoberfest will open to the public on Thursday, October 21 and run through Sunday, October 24. Wednesday, October 20 is corporate night, for corporate sponsors only.
Festival hours are Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Something new for 2010 is a beer garden theme: “The Good, The Brat, and the Ugly.” You’ll have to come to Oktoberfest and figure that one out yourself! Admission is $6 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free.
Something else that’s new to Tulsa’s Oktoberfest is a $30 Wunderbar Pass that includes a one-liter commemorative stein, four days of free admission, free shuttle rides all four days, and one free beverage of your choosing each day.
German bands are a highlight of Oktoberfest.
Tulsa Oktoberfest 2010 is loaded with amazing entertainment. This year will feature The Mid-Life Crisis Band, Thomas Martinez, Brandon Clark, and the Red Dirt Rangers. In addition, two bands will be flown in from Germany. The exciting Walburg Boys will be performing authentic German yodeling, and several other local and regional German bands will be making the scene.
To make getting to Oktoberfest much easier, consider riding a scheduled shuttle. The cost is only $4 per rider, and each route will have designated stops along the way. The three routes originate from OSU Tulsa (downtown), the Hilton Southern Hills (79th & Lewis), and the Best Western (I-44 and Harvard). Shuttle transportation is highly recommended.
Oktoberfest games will include beer barrel races, weiner dog races, beer pong, and an authentic beer stein race.
The kids’ tent will feature arcade games and Wii Bowling from Andy B’s. There will be German music, chicken dancing and a puppet theater. Plus, Cedric the Scientist will be conducting science experiments that will delight the kids. An adult must accompany children under 12 years of age. There will also be a “make-it-and-take-it” arts and crafts center in the kids’ tent, plus other features, some free, all under $2.
Oktoberfest provides a fun atmosphere featuring lots of carnival rides and things to do during the day, when it is truly a family-oriented happening. As evening approaches, the focus is geared more on adult fun and festivities.
Tulsa’s outstanding German heritage festival is planned and executed by volunteers, 2,200 total. There’s only one paid employee who heads up the whole shebang. You can buy this year’s festive theme poster at Oktoberfest, and you can view it online prior to the event. Oktoberfest is a 501(c)(3) corporation. “Our job is to give Tulsa something great and fun to do for four days by perpetuating the annual premier German folk heritage festival, serving to enhance Tulsa and its River Parks system,” says Amber Hinkle, executive director of Oktoberfest. To date, Oktoberfest has donated more than $900,000 to Tulsa River Parks.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.