The fifth annual Saint Mary Mokena Oktoberfest extravaganza is in the books, and this was the most epic year yet!
Roughly 700 people attended the weekend celebration, which included the traditional Oktoberfest evening on Saturday, September 29 and a special “Kinderfest” for children and families the following afternoon.
Five O’clock Mass-goers were greeted by a giant tent as they arrived at the parish on Saturday. The weather was chilly, but nothing some delectable Wienerschnitzel, hearty potato pancakes and mouthwatering, beer-soaked brats couldn’t warm up.
Did we forget to mention the beef stroganoff, spätzle and APPLE STRUDEL that was a sight for sore eyes (and hungry stomachs) of all those who attended?
The music entertainment transported people straight to the beer gardens of Munich with not one, but two, German bands–The Bratwurst Brothers and Die Musikmeisters. Local dance studio Danse Integro even provided a free Polka lesson.
Speaking of beer, there was plenty. Those wanting to embrace the German spirit for the night could enjoy a Warsteiner, but there were American options too.
Throughout the night, everyone had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for some great prize baskets, which included a year of free Nancy’s pizza and a set of scented candles.
Following tradition, our very own Father Dindo (who had just returned from his pilgrimage to Europe) presented a beautiful picture he had painted, which was auctioned off during the night.
The following day, St. Mary was host to crowds of children for the first ever Kinderfest (German for Children’s Fest). The daytime event featured face painting, German crafts, and a traveling reptile and bug show.
Perhaps most popular among the little ones (and probably their parents too) was the root beer garden.
Of course, the festival wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of more than 150 volunteers who helped out–from decorators, to food servers, to drink pourers, to the brave souls who stayed to clean up afterward–everyone pitched in to make this a weekend to remember.