Frankfort Chamber of Commerce hosts second Oktoberfest
Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi.
It was time to break out the dirndl dresses and lederhosen once again as the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce hosted its second annual Business After Hours Oktoberfest event Thursday, Oct. 25, at the German American Heritage Center. Both members and nonmembers of the chamber gathered at the center for authentic German food, drinks and entertainment, with a dash of professional networking,too.
Inspired by the Pub! Grub! & Network! event, a pub crawl networking event hosted by the chamber each April, the chamber was looking to host a new event that was centrally located. Sticking with the spirit of the fall season, the chamber looked to the town’s German heritage for inspiration and teamed up with the German American Heritage Center of Frankfort for the chamber’s own Oktoberfest. “We feel like the Oktoberfest event is a great time to integrate the history of our town and its German heritage with a fun event to get the chamber members involved,” said Marienne Melcher, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a lot easier to socialize when it’s after work, there’s some food and drinks, and maybe some fun and entertainment,” said Dana Anderson, the chairperson of Oktoberfest. “People are drawn to events that coincide with the time of year, so we thought it was a good idea to hold our Oktoberfest in October.”
Serving as the clubhouse to the Deutsch Amerikanischer National Congress, or DANK Chicago South, the German American Heritage Center of Frankfort was the perfect location for the German celebration. The club is a 501(c) nonprofit organization, dedicated to supporting German American cultural landmarks and events, as well as the study of German language and cultures.
When the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce approached the German American Heritage Center about hosting the event, Christine Waltheir thought, “What better place to host an Oktoberfest than a German club?”
“Events like this bring you back to the heritage and the culture that existed in our town years ago. Everybody has Oktoberfest, but they’re kind of Americanized,” said Waltheir, Oktoberfest event coordinator and a DANK Chicago South board member.
“They may serve ‘German’ food, but it’s not really authentic. Here we have the authentic food and German beers, everyone can come out and enjoy the gemütlichkeit.”
Even Jim Holland, Frankfort’s own mayor, took part in the evening’s festivities. A member of DANK Chicago South himself, Holland said he thought the German American Heritage Center and DANK represent the values and heritage of Frankfort.
“I think it’s good for our community that there is a German heritage organization that teaches the customs and languages," Holland said. "It really appeals to everyone of all backgrounds. There’s a lot of people with German heritage that want to find out more, but there’s people like myself who are mostly Norwegian, and we just enjoy the activities here.
“There’s great German food, nice German music, and it’s all in the company of those in the Chamber of Commerce," he added. “It makes an impact.”