Banner year – Oktoberfest pays off Mount Angel Festhalle

February 2023 Posted in Business, News

By Stephen Floyd

Mount Angel Oktoberfest has paid off its loan for the community Festhalle five years ahead of schedule, following a record-setting year for revenue in 2022.

During the Jan. 26 annual meeting of the group’s membership, it was announced that last year saw more income than ever before, with $342,611 received after expenses.

The Mount Angel Festhalle. Jim Kinghorn

The Mount Angel Festhalle. Jim Kinghorn

This allowed the board to make the final payments on a $500,000 loan taken out in 2011 to complete the building, which frees up tens of thousands of dollars each year for additional donation opportunities.

“Since we no longer have the payments to make on the building, it will allow us to give more funds each year,” said spokesperson Monica Bochsler. “This is terrific, as our goal is to support other nonprofits and give back as much as possible each year.”

The Festhalle was built in 2011 as a community center for the city’s annual Oktoberfest and other events, such as the recent Volksfest. Community support generated nearly $2.5 million in donations for the 20,000-square foot building, which was completed in two phases.

The loan was taken out to complete the second phase on time. Bochsler said Oktoberfest organizers did not incur this debt lightly.

“While the loan was necessary to get the Festhalle completed, it also posed a burden,” she said.

The loan had a 15-year term and repayment began in 2012. 

Bochsler said there were a couple of exceptionally profitable years since then. Oktoberfest was able to make extra payments to drive down principal and reduce long-term interest.

When the 2022 festival started, the loan had three yearly payments left. Bochsler said clear skies, and great food, vendors and entertainment, led to a banner year. The board was able to make all three payments at once.

Even with this large payout, Oktoberfest was still able to donate $90,721 to community groups in 2022. With the loan off the books, Bochsler said they look forward to being even more generous, as well as setting aside more funds to keep the Festhalle in top shape.

In addition to funding regular projects, Oktoberfest is expanding its resources, including the recent purchase of the field across the street from the Festhalle that becomes a parking lot during the festival. The property was purchased last year from Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel for $340,000. Bochsler said a loan was taken out to complete that purchase, but will be repaid with the same urgency as the Festhalle loan.

“We carefully balance the need for loans against our long term goal of providing for other non-profits and keeping the necessary infrastructure,” she said.

Planning for this year’s Oktoberfest is already under way. The theme for the Sept. 14-17 event is “A Touch of Bavaria”. Organizers are optimistic they can replicate last year’s success.

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