Monday, October 20, 2014

UPDATE FROM THE WALLOWA COUNTY CHIEFTAIN

Alpenfest grew in 2014

Published: October 19, 2014



Professional polka dancers Randy and Ashley Thull of Wisconsin show their stuff at Oregon's Alpenfest. They taught polka lessons at the festival and will return in 2015.



Post-event review of 2014 Alpenfest finds fest to be on upward arc

WALLOWA LAKE – The 36th edition of Oregon’s Alpenfest Sept. 25-28 resulted in growth on all fronts.

Attendance was up, more food and beer was consumed and the dance floor was much more crowded with polka dancers than last year, Alpenmeister Chuck Anderson reported this week after reviewing the Swiss-Bavarian festival’s results.

“We were very pleased,” he said. “Our new Swiss yodeler, Art Brogli, was a huge hit everywhere he went, even on his own, and the response to our new polka teachers, Randy and Ashley Thull from Wisconsin, was amazing.”

Anderson said a couple from Washington, attending for the first time, emailed that their visit, including their polka lesson from the Thulls, was “even better than our trip to Paris.”

“Even the performers and our loyal volunteers thanked us,” Anderson noted.

“I want to make a point of acknowledging the volunteers who make our festival possible. They decorate the hall, handle safety and security, cook and serve our Bavarian food, set up the tables and chairs and otherwise create the atmosphere that our guests love. They are awesome.”

The volunteer corps numbered about 50, Anderson said. Other relevant numbers:

• 1,030 bratwursts served.
• 85 pounds of German potato salad served.
• 725 pints of beer poured.
• 360 number of Alpenfest Breakfasts served.
• 100 estimated attendance at free polka lessons.

“For the first time in three years, the dance floor was very crowded,” Anderson said. “I should know, since I was out there myself. More guests than ever were dancing instead of just listening to the music. I attribute that mostly to our polka lessons, which we’ll repeat in 2015.”

Oregon’s Alpenfest for 2015 will be Sept. 24-28, with a new polka band because The Polkatones have a long-standing agreement to perform at Oaks Park Oktoberfest in Portland when it conflicts with Alpenfest weekend.

The Tirolean Dancers of Oregon, faced similarly with a conflicting invitation for the weekend, chose to return to Oregon’s Alpenfest rather than perform elsewhere. “I think they like it here,” Anderson said.