One of the biggest events this weekend will be Saturday’s Glenville Oktoberfest at Ma’alwyck Park. It’s the 13th year of the event and organizers expect at least 10,000 visitors.
“It’s a celebration of community,” said David Hennel, chairman of the organizing committee. “It’s an annual chance to connect with people you may not have seen in a long time.”
The one-day festival began as a fun event at Schenectady Airport to introduce the city of Glenville. In the past, people flew in on their private planes just to be there, he said.
About 2,000 people typically came to enjoy what, even then, was centered on authentic German food, heritage and music.
Over the years, as more events were added, more bands started playing and more people attended, the event was moved to Ma’alwyck Park and why organizers now refer to the event as “Munich on the Mohawk,” Hennel said.
“The event is so popular that we are now very regional and not just local,” he said. “We’re even on a national Oktoberfest list.”
There are loads of things to enjoy. There are two beer gardens including the Wolf Hollow Brewing beer garden; authentic German food from the German/American Club of Albany; lots of vendors; and four bands, namely Gregory and the Brauhaus Band from Albany, Herbie and His Accord-a-Tones from Albany, Bratwurst Boys from Long Island and Roxy and The Rollers, a local band.
“You can have lunch, walk around, and then come back and have dinner,” Hennel said, laughing.
There will be two competitions: the nail hammer game or hammer games and pitcher lifting.
“We saw the nail hammering game on an Australian show,” Hennel said. “It’s who can bang nails on a four by four post the quickest. They have to be hit cleanly and there are three fighters at once. The pitcher is a heavy glass pitcher with water in it. It takes a lot of effort to hold it the longest—some four to eight minutes. Both games are very popular.”
Three years ago they were joined by the HSV Bavaria Schuhplattler Dancers, a traditional German dance group from Connecticut. Twelve costumed dancers dance when the bands take a break. There’s also a cruise-in-car show of vintage cars, open to the public with no admission fee, and hundreds are on display; a K-9 demonstration; a Safe Child booth where parents can have their child fingerprinted and photographed for an ID card; and helicopter flights.
“We will have three copters based in Newburgh. People can take a 10-minute scenic drive,” Hennel said.
The cost is $70 per person and the copters fly until dark.
This event requires a tremendous effort with hundreds of volunteers and 30 sponsors keeping the event free entry. Among the volunteers are members of the ROTC from Schenectady High School who will help with parking. And while everyone is enjoying the final fireworks, Hennel’s team is already working on Oktoberfest 2023.
“We will meet weekly and then kick off in January. It’s really about lining up the bands to make sure they’re available on the last Saturday in September,” Hennel said. “I was there from the start. It takes countless hours and our budget has grown. But it’s a lot of fun to see people enjoying this day.”
Glenville Oktoberfest ‘Munich on the Mohawk’
WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 12pm to 9pm
WHERE: Ma’alwyck Park, Glenville
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFORMATION: www.glenvilleoktoberfest.com
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Scotia Glenville