Event date: September 17, 2022
Since we arrived here in the Pacific Northwest, we have spent far more time than we had initially intended in our home, instead of out, experiencing our new city.
We have been very lucky to meet some awesome new friends, some of whom will show up in our Adventures as regulars. One of those is Amanda, whose great enthusiasm for watching small dogs racing was the driver behind our activity on this hot, late-summer Saturday.
Because we were unsure about the traffic, George and I set out particularly early that overcast Portland morning, and it paid off – the traffic was very light, we got an excellent parking location, and we had plenty of time for George to explore the classic car display before the tiny dog races.
For me, classic cars are a curiosity – for George, they are closer to a passion. The morning was still cool, so it was a pleasant way to pass the time, strolling along and idly trying to guess their vintage. I was mainly wrong, of course, but I got pretty close.
The whole town of Mt Angel closes down for Oktoberfest – everything is decorated, and the whole centre is closed off to traffic and turned into a pedestrian party zone, with craft stalls, dances, food chalets, and more.
As the time of the Wiener dog races approached, we decided to head across to the Kindergarten.
It was nice to just sit and watch people walking past, many of them in German garb, cheerful, looking forward to a great day. People, and of course, many, many Wiener dogs.
Amanda, Matt, and Laura were unfortunately caught in traffic, so George and I headed to the race track to get as many of the races on tape as we could.
Watching tiny Dachshunds race really is just pure, childlike joy. Their funny wee legs, their enthusiasm, the madness of the whole situation – you can’t help but love it.
Once we had had our fill of the races, we headed down into the centre of the town to discover what else might be available. First, we hit the arts and crafts market. next year, I must get a floral crown.
Next, we went hunting for food. We started with the essentials: coffee. I got a smoothie. The others got some Russian fare – pelmeni (Russian beef dumplings) and Piroshki, fried dough filled with meat and veges – and German sausages with sauerkraut. We found somewhere to sit and consult the map again while we ate and drank what we had bought.
I was obsessing over corn, which turned out to be quite hard to find, but in the process, we discovered a lot more of the fair that we might not have seen if we hadn’t kept pushing for corn!
The Harvest Monument is created by a local artist, currently Philis Schmidt. This photo is from the official Mt Angel Oktoberfest site. When we saw it, there were seats and pumpkins around it, and I even got to congratulate and photograph the proud grower of those pumpkins, who urged me to get pictures of them, too.
As we headed past the Fruchtsäule on our way to seek more food stalls, we saw that everyone in the crowd was looking up. It was too crowded to stop and watch the Glockenspiel, but we got a couple of pictures in passing. This picture is from the official site, where you can read more about its history.
The Glockenspiel plays at 11 a.m., 1, 4 and 7 p.m. daily.
From what I can gather, the bottom shutters open to reveal 6 figures from the town’s history: a “noble Kalapuya Brave at prayer”; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Zollner (a double figure), were the first German settlers in the area; Mathias Butsch, the “Father of Mount Angel” and leader of the Catholic community; Prior Adelhelm Odermatt, Mount Angel’s first pastor, who suggested the name “Mount Angel”, after his hometown, Engelberg; Sister Bernadine Wachter, the first Prioress of the Benedictine convent; and finally, “Papa Oom Pah”, who is the official mascot of the Oktoberfest, which funded the construction of this figure.
At the top, the finale is a boy and a girl, dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes, who “play on a garden swing while singing the song Edelweiss”.
Here’s a video I found of it doing its thing, seeing as we missed most of it:
These are the photos I was able to snap in passing:
We headed down towards the final branch of the fair, which turned out to go much further than we initially thought – and found corn!
George and I don’t drink, so the profusion of beer-related activities weren’t our scene, but the food certainly was! Corn, crepes, and hazelnuts achieved, we sat in the shade for a bit and enjoyed them, and with quite a long drive ahead, we decided to head home.
Here’s the story of our first Mt Angel Oktoberfest in video form: