Clayton recently held its Oktoberfest celebration. I must commend them for how well it was organized and the special attention given to those who are handicapped. The organizers reserved a special parking lot just for the handicapped and gave them a free ride to the festivities and then back to their car when they are ready to leave.
There were also new additions to the food aisle that leads to the Beer Garden's tent. I never noticed some of these selections before, so they are new to me. I saw chicken teriyaki and various seafood plates being offered as well as the German food, corn dogs and those huge flame barbecued turkey drumsticks. I could have missed other food stands on my hurried way to the Beer Garden's tent to get a seat. The seats are at a premium and are taken up fast by the attendees that want to listen to the band while they enjoy their food and German beer or other beverages.
My roommate and I were lucky and found a table with enough empty seats for all our expected friends when they arrived later on. It's not easy to save seats even when you place stuff on the table in front of them. The wonderful, alert table cleaning volunteers are right there asking you if those people are gone so they can clean the table for a new arrival. Then the new people coming in will always ask if that seat is taken already. You have to be on your toes to keep the empty spaces for very long and especially if you are seated there alone.
I really thought that more people would have gone out of town with it being a three-day-weekend, but it seems everyone wanted to go to the Oktoberfest this year. The carnival had added a few new rides and the delightful screams from those riding the scary ones were almost heard above the band. Just kidding on that one.
The band outdid itself with its fabulous playing and took very few breaks. As the afternoon rolled on and more beer was consumed, the audience became more involved in the singing and cheering during the beer songs. The "Chicken Song" went over great and most everyone was doing the wing flapping and other movements as they sang along with the band.
Other songs that were a hit with the crowd were "Beer Barrel Polka," "She's Too Fat For Me" and many others, including a few French ones that I can no longer remember after my two beers. My friend from Germany finally showed up and instead of helping me get the German sausage that I wanted, he went off with his wife, Ebele, to get his beer and their lunch. After they finished their food, they left to go dance at the front by the band and other friends arrived.
Bill is part German and I don't know what his wife, Lois, is, but they are there every year with some of their adult children. When Wolfgang and Ebele returned to the table from the dance floor, I introduced them all to each other. Wolfgang was off for another beer and when he returned he lamented that he was the only German there. I quickly advised him that Bill and I were both part German.
I just had to ask Wolfgang how our Oktoberfest compared with the ones in Germany. He grinned and replied, "In Germany there would have been a few fights already!"
A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.