Oklahoma Oktoberfest A trip to Tulsa’s Oktoberfest will leave no doubt that Oklahomans love German culture. For one weekend a year, everyone parties like Bavarians, throwing down pitchers of beer, swallowing feet of bratwurst and dancing like a chicken to goofy polka music. “Americans love Oktoberfest. It’s a million-dollar business and a lot of that money goes to the city,” said Claus Greiner, former chairman of the board of the event. Germans in Lawton Lawton also has a successful Oktoberfest, run by the Lawton German American Club, with German bands, dancing, food, beer and an attendance of between 8,000 to 12,000 over two days. There’s are a number of Germans living around Lawton, often spouses of American soldiers from Fort Sill who were once stationed in Germany. The Lawton German American Club gives them the opportunity to practice their native tongue and keep up to date with German culture. German Polka Music President of the Lawton German American Club, Karl Waldbauer, plays with his band, The Polka Kings, at its monthly meetings. The Polka Kings originally were set up to provide German music for Lawton’s first Oktoberfest in 1971. They’ve played together ever since and now have a repertoire of more than 250 German songs. “People like polka because it’s happy music,” Austrian-born Karl said. “When we’re on stage and I look down at the crowd, everyone is dancing or tapping their feet.” German Restaurants in Oklahoma If you can’t wait until Oktoberfest to taste your next wiener schnitzel, there are plenty of German restaurants in Oklahoma, including the popular Rheingarten Restaurant in Grove and Margaret’s German Restaurant in Tulsa. The Royal Bavarian Restaurant and Brewery in Moore offers the Oktoberfest experience year ’round, with German food made from scratch. A third of the restaurant’s ingredients are imported from Germany, including red cabbage, mustard, sauerkraut and pretzels. The restaurant also brews its own full-bodied German beers. Kings Wheat, Kings Gold and King’s Oktoberfest are all brewed according to the German purity laws which allow just four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast and water. Bands play at the Royal Bavarian Restaurant on weekends and from May to October their 200-seat beer garden completes the experience. German Food in Oklahoma Germans love sausages, which explains the popularity of Siegi’s Sausage Factory in Tulsa. Siegi’s makes 20 different types of sausage on the premises including Bratwurst, a specialty of third generation Austrian sausage-maker Siegi Sumaruk, who opened the store in 1985. Store manager Jeffrey Yates said that around 60 percent of the customers are German, including a lot of young Germans working for Liechtenstein-based tool manufacturer Hilti. “We have people coming in buying things that their German grandmother always made them, as well as the grandmothers themselves. They know this is the closest they can get to the food back home.” German Prisoners of War in Oklahoma German Hilti employees wouldn’t be the first Germans to get homesick in Oklahoma. During World War II, some 21,737 German prisoners of war were imprisoned in as many as 49 camps throughout Oklahoma, according to Colonel Robert Powell, chairman and CEO of the Green Country Museum of Military History. Many of these German prisoners were captured in North Africa and interned in the middle of America to make escape more difficult. They were well treated here and enjoyed a lot of personal freedom, including their own theater and newspaper. They not only built the post chapel at Fort Reno, but found the time to build stone and mortar replicas of German castles and monuments from postcards, some of which survive to this day. The Tulsa-Celle Partnership Today links between the sister cities Tulsa and Celle in northern Germany are flourishing. The 10-year-old Tulsa-Celle partnership has seen sporting, cultural and educational exchanges which aim to enrich both cities by sharing knowledge and creating opportunities to socialize across international borders.
Oklahoma's Largest CulturesAmerican Indian
- Muscogee (Creek)
Arab, Middle Eastern and North African
- Asian Indian
Hispanic and Latino