By CAROL FERGUSON
Greenville Council No. 7438 of the Knights of Columbus is busy preparing for its annual Oktoberfest for charity on Oct. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m., in the council hall.
Between 800 and 1,000 people are expected at the event which is the council’s principle fundraiser supporting charity projects such as Christmas food baskets for the needy, scholarships for area high school graduating seniors, sponsorships of youth league sports teams, stipends for seminarians studying toward their ordination into the priesthood, and emergency disaster relief.
The fun begins with an authentic German meal which includes bratwurst and sausage from Muenster, Texas; grilled lemon chicken, German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, European breads, desserts and iced tea . Soft drinks and imported German beers will also be available.
German “oompah” music will add to the atmosphere for listening enjoyment as well as dancing under the council’s outdoor pavilion located adjacent to the council hall, and an outdoor bounce house will be provided for children. Several Knights will also be dressed in the traditional lederhosen for this family-oriented celebration.
Advance tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for children, and are available from any council member of the Knights of Columbus, or from Ray Murphy, ticket chairman, at 903-454-9629. At-the-door prices are $15 for adults and $5 for children (through the age of 12). A special separate line will be set up for those wishing to purchase take-outs.
The Knights of Columbus council hall is located at 2705 Sunset Strip at Highway 34, about a half-mile south of Walmart.
This local event began 15 years ago as part of the communitywide Cotton Jubilee celebration which was sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Although the Chamber has since discontinued the Jubilee, the council has continued to host the celebration.
The tradition of Oktoberfest originated in Munich on Oct. 18, 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig (later Kind Ludwig I) of Bavaria decided to celebrate his marriage to Princess Marie Theresa of Saxony in royal style. At first it was meant to be just a simple horse race on a site now dubbed Theresienwiese (Theresa’s fields), but the Bavarian character quickly took over and it became the party of the century. With an open invitation to Ludwig’s countrymen, the party drew about 40,000 guests.
In the following year, the farmers of Bavaria staged a second Oktoberfest as an occasion to market the produce they had just harvested. The horse races were eventually abandoned, but the event continued each year thereafter as a celebration of the harvest, with ever increasing crowds.
It has continued annually throughout all Germanic lands and eventually spread to the United States where many Americans enjoy the authentic German food, costumes and music.
Everyone is invited to join in the celebration.