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8th Annual Oktoberfest underway in Chippewa Falls

By: Megan Peterson Email
By: Megan Peterson Email

Dancing and drinking is going full-swing in Chippewa Falls as day one of the 8th Annual Oktoberfest kicked off on Friday.

German themed music, clothing, food and drinks are filling the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.

It's a big fun-filled festival that brings people to Chippewa Falls to celebrate the area's German heritage.

A soggy start Friday morning didn't hold anyone back from bringing their moves and hitting the dance floor.

"My husband loves to polka so we're here to see the polka bands," Shirley of Thorp said.

People waltzed and polkaed around the German festival with smiles all around.

"Lots of dancing and beer drinking," Dick Rowan said.

At high noon the golden keg was tapped and this year's royalty announced.

"It brings the whole community together and it's just a terrific, terrific thing," Laura Baalrud of Chippewa Falls said.

Some fest-goers wore costumes to help parade the golden keg to the grounds.

"My mom found a lederhosen for me and they just happened to fit perfect," Andy McGrane said.

"My favorite is people all being in a very positive celebratory mood and it's just great to get all the folks from our neck of the woods to here," Peggy Leinenkugel added.

It’s a celebratory weekend fit for the whole family.

"It's just so fun. The music, everyone just seems to be so happy when they're here," 2009 Festmeister Carrie Leis said.

Dave and Mary Olson of Chippewa Falls were named the 2010 Festmeister and Festmeisterin.
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It's a yearly celebration filled with music, entertainment, food and drinks: all with German flair.

A years worth of planning has gone into the festival weekend, marking the 8th Annual Oktoberfest in Chippewa Falls.

For many, it's a weekend that holds a tradition of fun and fundraising for local groups and Germans in the area.

German themed decor was hung and benches set.

"It's just to decorate our little booth to make it look like it was plucked out of some Bavarian village in Germany," Director of the Cook-Rutledge Mansion Sandra Kenner said as she put up decorations.

As volunteers and organizers got set for this year's authentic tradition.

"We actually have 40 different shifts and they're manned by volunteers again, but it's busy. We do it as a fundraiser for our mansion. It gives us a place to have our little booth and raise some extra much-needed funds," Kenner said.

"This area is very highly defined by German heritage. There is a big population of Germans here in Chippewa Falls and so it's an availability for them to celebrate all their heritage traditions that they've grown up with," Oktoberfest Planning Committee Member Cheryl Petska said.

There will be music, drinks and homemade food.

“We have apple dumplings, apple streusel, and carrot cake," St. Simeon’s Church Member Bonita Aude said.

And some specialties from Germans now living in the area like Ursula Whelan and her famous pretzels.

"We've made those pretzels for the last 25 years. I couldn't find any good pretzels in this country," Aude said.

It’s a yearly celebration that brings community members together to share in the German heritage.

"Leave room for dessert!” Hannelore Mueller said as she set up her church’s booth.

Organizers stress Oktoberfest is an event for the whole family with plenty of kid-friendly activities.

The Oktoberfest gates are open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. A three day pass is $14 and daily admission is $8. Kids 12 under get in free. Kids 18 and under get in free all day Sunday.


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