CHOCTAW — If you like beer, swords and smoked meat, Choctaw Creek Park is the place to be this weekend.
Choctaw’s 24th annual Oktoberfest celebration kicks off Friday evening with the ceremonial tapping of the first keg. The festival will bring nine days of beer, revelry and German traditions to the Oklahoma City metro area.
Mike Turek, the event’s organizer, said he expects the festival to attract more than 40,000 people from at least a dozen states. Workers have been preparing food for several days leading up to the event.
“That’s what you’ve got to do to have a good quality event,” Turek said. “The music is great, the atmosphere is great, but in the end, it’s the food.”
The festival includes German food, beer, wine, music and dancing. The menu will include German fare like bratwurst, smoked pork chops, schnitzel sandwiches and potato salad. It also will include 44 varieties of German and American beer.
Turek, the owner of the Old Germany restaurant in Choctaw, emigrated to the United States from his home near Frankfurt, Germany, in 1974 and opened the restaurant in 1976. In 1991, he decided to hold an Oktoberfest celebration on the grounds of the restaurant.
What started as a small gathering with bratwurst, beer and a band doubled in size the following year and continued to grow over the decades until it eventually outgrew the restaurant. After he ran out of room inside the restaurant, he opted to move the celebration to Choctaw Creek Park, where it remains today.
“I couldn’t get any more bodies in there,” Turek said.
A new highlight of the festival will be a demonstration by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a historical re-enactment group. The group will demonstrate sword-fighting techniques from central Europe during the Medieval period, said Andrew Steeley, a member of the group.
Steeley, who goes by the name Baron Andrew Turnbull during reenactments, said demonstrators will use heavy swords and shields that would have been common in the early Medieval period, as well as smaller, lighter rapiers that gained favor later.
Demonstrators will perform from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Other club members also will be on hand to display Medieval European crafts like clothing, fabrics and woodworking, Steeley said.
Staff Photographer Jim Beckel
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