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Oktoberfest comes to South Florida starting this weekend.

By RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
South Floridians will be dancing to polka and raising beer mugs in celebration of Oktoberfest.
Several locations across the region will be hosting festivals in regards to Germany’s major party.
In South Miami-Dade, more than 100 children of all ages will showcase German culture and heritage through music, costumes and contests at the 19th annual Oktoberfest at the German American Social Club, 11919 SW 56th St., from noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 9. Admission and parking are free.
The affair is organized by the German International Parent Association, but more than 80 volunteers participate. Event chairman Susan Schuler said the event is a way to unite different communities and raise awareness of the German culture.
“It is a cultural event, where we want people to see the German culture and show how large it is,” said Schuler, who is a full-time German teacher at Sunset Elementary School.
Sunset Elementary, G.W. Carver Middle and Coral Reef Senior High students will perform wearing traditional German attire. Girls will wear the typical dirndl, while men will entertain the crowd styling lederhosen. The youngsters will sing songs they learn in class.
Daniela George’s children, Connor, 9, and Clay, 8, will sing the German song, Theo, Theo. Watching her kids entertain reminds her of her birthplace, Germany.
“It makes me feel proud that the children participate and they dance and sing to things I used to do, when I was young,” she said.
The Double Espresso, a rock band made up of parents, also will hit the stage. Several carnival rides, from carousels to rock climbing, will be available. A wrist band for $25 will be sold for unlimited rides. Soccer clinics and a dunking booth will be another source of enjoyment.
The German festival is celebrated every year running from late September to the first weekend in October. It started when the late Prince Ludwig of Bavaria called for a celebration of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810.
At the festival, a large variety of German food including pretzels will be available. For $15, adults can enjoy a menu that includes authentic German sausage, potato salad, sauerkraut, bread, dessert and beverage. The kids menu will be $6 and include hamburgers, chips, beverage and hot dogs.
Beer lovers also can enjoy typical alcoholic beverages from Germany. Artwork of the Berliner Mauer by Marta Culver will be on display. Several vendors also will be on hand to promote the European country.
Proceeds of the event will help pay the salaries of four local part-time German teachers. A raffle and a silent auction will be held.
For information visit, www.gipa.org.
Other Oktoberfest events will include:
• Coral Gables: Oktoberfest on the Bierhaus Plaza in front of Fritz & Franz Bierhaus at 60 Merrick Way. The free event will be held from now through Oct. 10. Featured artists include The Group Gastein. Money will be raised for the nonprofit organization Charlee Homes for Children to be the beneficiary of sales from the raffle tickets. For information visit www.oktoberfestmiami.com.
• Miami Beach: Shake Shack, 1111 Lincoln Rd., will host Shacktoberfest now through Oct. 10 with specials including garlic sausage with bacon-and-beer sauce and crushed pretzels, and German chocolate cake concretes (extra-thick milk shakes, $6.25) and seasonal beers. Call 305-434-7787 for information.

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