Ron Rahl wore his own beak as he chicken-danced with gusto, then sat down to enjoy his stein of Hofbräu and the spirit of gemütlichkeit, or friendliness.
Rahl came more than 100 miles from Sebring for the 42nd Oktoberfest at the American German Club of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth on Saturday, investing in a hotel room and taxis to get around safely.
Rahl went to the Oktoberfest in Munich in the mid-1970s while he was stationed at Ramstein Air Base. So how does one of the largest Oktoberfests in South Florida measure up?
“This is just as good, except there’s more English spoken here,” Rahl said.
He said he’s lived in Florida for 10 years and always wanted to come, but this year is the first he’s been able to attend. The highlight was — of course — the beer. That was a common refrain from festival-goers dressed in lederhosen and other Bavarian garb as they washed down their schnitzel, brats and sauerkraut with Hofbräu from steins.
German flags and live polka music were abundant Saturday at the festival on the grounds of the American German Club off Lantana Road.
Werner Raschdorf and his son, Max, 4, wore matching Bavarian hats at their first Oktoberfest in Palm Beach County. Raschdorf’s dad was German, and his mom is Austrian, he said. The Wellington residents, like Rahl, have been to the enormous festival in Munich when Max was 7 months old.
Werner’s favorite part of Oktoberfest was easy to identify.
“The beer,” he said, as he raised his stein.
Shots of German liquor and mixed drinks like the Munich mule also flowed in abundance. There was plenty of other German culture on display as well. Two bands came from the motherland, and “Das Deutschlandlied,” the German national anthem, opened the festival after the Parade of Flags.
Chris Feil, of Boynton Beach, learned about the local Oktoberfest last year from a friend with a large German family. He discovered the schnitzel at the festival last year and this year enjoyed the “delicious” beef fleisch speiss — in other words, a kabob.
“It’s just a good time all around,” said Feil, wearing a Germany Yachting World Series shirt.
An afternoon rain shower had little effect on the festival, which continues today and next weekend. The festival at 5111 Lantana Rd. is open Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
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