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It’s O’fest! Eat, drink, polka

The 57th annual Oktoberfest in Mount Angel runs Sept. 15 – 18, and event organizers are promising a festival celebrating “The Joy of Being Together.”

The festival welcomes back musical friends from Germany, Donaumusikanten. Band members travel from Bavaria. Donaumusikanten is known for traditional Bavarian folk music as well as modern rock songs.

After two years away due to pandemic travel restrictions, Donaumusikanten, sponsored by Withers Lumber Co., is scheduled to perform all four days of the festival in the Weingarten.

10 Barrel Brewing of Bend is introducing Mt. Angel Doppelbock during the festival. Brewed at the request of Biergarten Chairman Nick Splonski, it will be served at the Biergarten as well as the new Engelgarten venue, which does not require a cover charge.

More than 40 food vendors are expected to offer festival favorites like pretzels, spätzle and wurst hot off the grill. Proceeds support local schools, churches and other community groups. Oktoberfest is a major fundraising opportunity for these groups, with an estimated $750,000 gathered in total during a normal year. 

For those seeking calm, uplifting music, St. Mary Church will host large and small choral groups, as well as harpists, flutists and organists, with free, public performances.

The annual 5K and 10K races have returned, too. Scheduled to start Sunday at 9 a.m. outside John F. Kennedy High School, this event features a lower-intensity 5K walk/run, and a competitive 10K run up to Mount Angel Abbey and back. All competitors receive a commemorative pint glass (those 21 and older also receive a free beer ticket). Register at oktoberfest.org. 

The Wiener Dog Races return on Saturday. A festival highlight, races are on the St. Mary’s Public School grounds from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spectators are more than welcome to cheer on the spunky canines as they go sprinting down the field.

More information on all events and music schedules are available at oktoberfest.org.

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