By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2009
Don’t miss the fun, dancing, food and more at Tulsa’s Oktoberfest, October 22-25, 2009.
In Tulsa, Oktoberfest is a tremendous phenomenon, and it’s about that time of year again. Oktoberfest begins Thursday, October 22 and runs through Sunday, October 25. This is the chance to get your fix of delicious food, great beverages, carnival rides, live music straight from Germany, and, naturally, the Chicken Dance.
Tulsa’s Oktoberfest is a massive event: it has grown to become one of the top ten Oktoberfests in the country, and last year, the event attracted 65,000 people over four days. Tulsa’s Oktoberfest began in 1978, and it has grown to its current size on the strength of its volunteers. It is put together and run by over 2,200 volunteers, all of whom contribute in their spare time and many of whom take vacation in order to help out. And over 120 people are involved year-round in planning the event. In case you’re interested, Oktoberfest is still looking for volunteers for this year’s festival.
The volunteers make all the difference. “The people of Tulsa have really wrapped their arms around this festival,” says Amber Hinkle, executive director of Oktoberfest Tulsa. “Our volunteers are personally invested, and they’ve had a lot to do with making this the biggest and best festival in town. Many come in from out of state just to volunteer.”
Oktoberfest, Inc. is a non-profit organization. “Oktoberfest is a party with a purpose,” says Hinkle. “The money we make goes back into the community, especially into the river parks. Over the last 30 years, Oktoberfest has been able to donate over $850,000.”
Tulsa\'s Oktoberfest is always filled with interesting characters.
Something you may not know is that Tulsa’s Oktoberfest introduced the Chicken Dance to America. The song itself was composed in the 1950s by Swiss accordion player Werner Thomas and was known as “The Duck Dance.” The song and dance was introduced to America during the 1981 Tulsa Oktoberfest by Germany’s Heilbronn Band. But no duck costume was available in Tulsa. Conveniently, a local television station managed to scrounge up a chicken costume in time, and the rest is history. Another fun fact: during this year’s Oktoberfest, over 20,000 bratwursts will be sold.
Oktoberfest has expanded its activities during the day. There will be wiener dog races, pretzel tosses, beer stein races, the ever-popular beer barrel race, and a lot more. There’s a great kids’ area, and the carnival is back this year.
The festival is getting something of a makeover this year. A new tent company is providing better tents, and there will be a brighter, more inviting entrance. Nevertheless, admission and shuttle prices will be the same as last year, Hinkle says.
Oktoberfest is October 22-25. Admission is still $5, and kids 12 and under get in free. Shuttle services will be available. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.tulsaoktoberfest.org.
2100 S. Jackson Ave. | Tulsa, OK