The village gives back: Considering the quiet hands behind O’fest

September 2019 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By the time this column is published, the Oktoberfest will be winding down on Sunday. So many memories, such good times, and the intake of about
4.2 billion calories. But fall is upon us, and soon the holidays, with events every weekend.

We all have our “Bavarian” rituals, from German Sausage on a bun with ‘kraut to that spectacular apple butter cake at the Butte Creek School booth. The hand-dipped-in-chocolate hazelnut ice cream bars from the Drake’s Crossing Fire Department are “manna from heaven,” and the Spaten “Optimator” is a veritable “nectar of the Gods.”

At an event that the Munich newspaper has called the best Oktoberfest in the World outside of Munich, good times, good friends, and good food and drink rule. And oh, the music. Oom Pah Pah.

But what a Herculean undertaking by thousands of volunteers, all with the simple purposes of giving us an “authentic experience” in Bavarian culture, an opportunity to hide for just a little bit from a rather chaotic world, and to help those in need. Literally 350,000 revelers pile into a town one/hundredth that size, looking for beer, sausage, human interaction, and escape.

I wonder a lot, at events like this, do the beneficiaries ever think about the people who volunteer their time, energy, money, and passion to ensure a truly good time would be had by all? Or do they just think about how many tokens they will need at the Biergarten? This is simply a call for us to say “thanks” to the soccer mom making your fish taco, the first responder making your hazelnut hand-dipped ice cream, and the Booster Club parent hawking sausages so kids can play Little League baseball and the debate team can make it to the St. Louis competition. Not just thanks for the great food, cold beer, homemade fudge, and German memorabilia, but for giving up four days so we can have the time of our lives.

But everywhere we go, it is the same type of people. The Homer Davenport Community Festival, Woodburn Tulip Festival, the Silverton Fine Arts Festival, the Pet Parade, Silverton Area Community Aid (SACA) Wine Auction, and Judy’s Party. Good people working hard to raise money for charity and noble causes, giving up their easy chair and a rousing episode of Wheel of Fortune so that less fortunate people have food, shelter, and compassion from someone who cares.

Think of the people who stay after the event is over who put away chairs, pick up the trash you left because the nearest garbage can was almost eight feet away. Consider the crossing guard, almost always a young person considering a career in law enforcement trying to make sure both vehicles and partygoers have equal access to safe passage. Give pause and thanks to the person selling tokens, tickets, and toffee – they are volunteers who have given their time so you can eat well, dance in the streets, drink good beer and wine, and so that high school clubs can get new soccer nets, tubas, and take educationally rewarding field trips.

And be nice. Please. Better yet, be nice to people who serve you, then volunteer your own time to serve and walk a mile in benevolent shoes. It does wonders for your community and for your soul.

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