Wollongong prepares for Oktoberfest celebrations

HERE'S CHEERS: Wollongong German Club secretary-manager Andrew Gunn road-tests some of the refreshments for this weekend's Oktoberfest. Picture: Adam McLean

HERE'S CHEERS: Wollongong German Club secretary-manager Andrew Gunn road-tests some of the refreshments for this weekend's Oktoberfest. Picture: Adam McLean

The Wollongong German Club’s Oktoberfest celebrations have become so successful they’re getting calls asking for their secrets.

The annual celebrations – which have been going for more than a quarter of a century – run from Friday afternoon through to Sunday at the Kembla Grange club.

The club’s secretary-manager Andrew Gunn said the festival has become such a success it’s known outside the Illawarra.

“It’s got a really well-known name about it now, and the club’s done it so well for so long it’s one of the biggest events on the Illawarra calendar,” Mr Gunn said.

“It’s just got such a good name now. So many other venues in the region and the country, they’re all doing Oktoberfest now.

“I’m getting contacted by clubs down the coast and up in Sydney who say ‘hey, we want to do some Oktoberfest promotion through our club, can you give us any insight or info where we can purchase a couple of kegs of beer to put on one of our taps for the month?’.”

Mr Gunn said he tries to help but is reluctant to give away all the secrets behind the successful festival.

This year’s festivities will include German and Polish dancers, an ompah band and, of course, a range of German beers and food.

There will also be a jumping castle, rides and facepaint for the kids.

Mr Gunn said families could opt for the Sunday session, which isn’t as busy as the Saturday.

Also, some tickets will be available at the gate for each day.

The tradition of Oktoberfest started way back in 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12.

The citizens of Munich were invited to share the couple's joy at festivities in front of the city gates.

As well as being an enjoyable festival for both club members and the general public, Mr Gunn said Oktoberfest is crucial for the club’s survival.

“Oktoberfest is our backbone - whatever profit comes out of Oktoberfest runs our club for the next 12 months,” he said.

Oktoberfest is our backbone - whatever profit comes out of Oktoberfest runs our club for the next 12 months. - Andrew Gunn

“There are only five paid staff throughout the whole year. It’s what keeps the club alive and gives the club a chance to share their traditions and what they love doing.”

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