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Oktoberfest: Time for beer, sausage and sauerkraut

The German International Parent Association will hold its 20th annual Oktoberfest Oct. 9 in West Miami-Dade.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to The Miami Herald

Polka dancing and frothy mugs of beer will take over South Florida during the first few weeks of October in celebration of Oktoberfest.

Among the highlights: the 20th annual Oktoberfest at the German American Social Club, 11919 SW 56th St., from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday Admission and parking are free.

The German International Parent Association organizes the event. A grant from Miami-Dade County of Cultural Affairs also helps pay the bills.

Sunset Elementary German teacher Susan Schuler said it is essential for everyone to learn about other people’s culture.

“It’s important for the community to see a little of the German culture and how it’s distributed to the area,” said Schuler, whose father is German and mother is from Honduras.

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.

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.

Typical German food will be sold like sausage, pretzels imported from Munich, Germany, potato salad, hamburgers, and frikadellen, pan-fried dumplings of minced meat. There will also be authentic food from the Heidelberg deli in Fort Lauderdale. There will be German draft and bottled beer sold.

There will be live performers including a disc jockey playing German music and Double Espresso, a rock band made up of parents, will hit the stage.

Miami Beach resident Rafael Lopez has two children who attend the German program in Sunset Elementary. His twin children, Camila and Sebastian, 8, Lopez will perform a German number at the event with the class.

“My wife, Brigitte Lopez, has German background. We have the German language very involved,” he said. “We want them to learn it and continue the German tradition. It is important to be involved with the German culture.”

Raffles and a silent auction will help raise money to pay for the salaries of part-time German International Parent Association teachers and supplies if needed.

For Lopez, it brings him pride to have his children speak an extra language.

“It makes me proud as a parent that they have accomplished to learn three languages, English, Spanish and German, in such a short time,” he said.

Several carnival rides, from carousels to rock climbing, will be available for children. A wrist band for $30 will be sold for unlimited rides. Soccer clinics and a dunking booth will be another source of enjoyment.

For information visit www.gipa.org.

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