Beer, Polka and Pumpkins Part 2

 

So there we were following a trail of slow movers (elderly) down the sidewalk to the festival center. I should have known this may be a little above our age because there was a giant bingo sign above the entrance. Never the less, there was  live accordions playing, dogs on the grill and I was sure kegs of beer inside. I’m kind of like a shark when it comes to beer. If sharks can smell a drop of blood per a million gallons of water than I can smell a drop of beer per one hundred people dowsed in Ben Gay. I know I am ripping on old people but hang in there. They actually rescue me at the end of this story.

Now that I am almost thirty I really feel that I should take full advantage of these festivals. Who cares about being reserve or what others think? When we walked into the festival I saw a sea of people all sporting German clothing, dancing, singing along and just having a good time. Damn it, I’m getting a hat! So that is what I did. I let my my guard down, bought us food, beer, a program, an awesome hat and introduced myself to the strangers sitting next to us. Of course they were as nice as they could be and just like that we were knee deep in Oktoberfest 2007.

I must admit that the fact our hotel was a mere fifty yards away made it hard to turn down my 7th beer and before I knew it the draw of the Orlando based Polka band was too much. We caught the end of a conga line that led right to stage center where it segwayed into the famous Chicken Dance-off. After that I tried my hand at real dancing and what looked simple really was not. I was 35 years younger than everyone there and I was getting my ass kicked on the dance floor. I returned to our seats a little sheepish but it was ok. When I was dancing like I had my legs on backwards a table full of old ladies from a Illinois charter line was watching and took pity and was able to give me guidance while the drummer of the band took my girlfriend on a real polka dance.

It only took a few lessons to really get the hang of it. I learned the two step, the waltz and the polka in less time than I learned I hate black licorice. It took me a few tries to be sure I really didn’t like it. Anyway, I had a blast learning and when I took the girlfriend back out on the dance floor I really turned it up a notch. Mainly because I was sure I wouldn’t break her hip if I had a polka mishap. I rule!

Well, soon the band was finishing up the encore and a bottle of Maalox was being passed around. I have to admit that hanging with these old ladies was the most fun I have had in a long time. They smoke, drink and cuss just like people I love. Too bad that they live so far away but that is always the bad part of vacations. You meet some of the greatest people in the world and at the end all you have is the memories. Better than nothing I suppose.

Well, soon the Oktoberfest was over and we had a blast to say the least. After saying our goodbyes, meeting the band and getting the to-go beer we made the trek back to the room. But I wasn’t ready to surrender yet. It was only 11pm and there had to be after party somewhere! And then I heard it. Someone was rocking Karaoke STYX and that is all I needed to keep the party going. We went into the bar and found a few barfly’s and a DJ that used to be in a KISS tribute band. He and I rocked a duet to “Rock and Roll All Night And Party Everyday.” Perfect end to a perfect day.

Part three is tomorrow and it is all about a quest for the annual pumpkin. It was strange and unusual but something to never forget.

Beer, Polka, And Pumpkins

I have to admit that October is my favorite month of the year and there are a few reasons for that. One is the fact that I love the Halloween season. That’s a given if you have read my previous posts. The other reason is flippin’ Oktoberfest! It’s a German celebration and a great reason to eat bratwurst, drink beer and dance to the accordion polka rhythm. I love every bit of it and in Helen, Georgia we hit the German fest with both fists. It was wunderbar!

Up in the North Georgia mountains, Helen is a really cute town that hosts this drunkfest. If you start the beer drinking at 4pm then by 10 you may actually believe you are in Germany. The only thing to ground you back to the reality that you are in North Georgia are the numerous T-shirt/novelty shops every 30 feet. You know, T-shirts with the muscle guy with a dalmatian head flexing in a fire fighter outfit or “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor ” shirt? Anyway, it was like a redneck Germany.

Oh yeah, you can buy a shit load of swords, lighters, old time personal photos, smashed and imprinted pennies, leather hats and whoopie cushions too. I have only been to Germany twice and it is true that whoopie cushions are a hard item to find. So you have that to keep you grounded as well.

Crap, I almost forgot! If you every need skulls and skeletons posed playing golf, working or Elvis impersonating you can get them in Helen. In hind sight I should have bought some as stocking stuffers just to keep the family guessing my sanity.

The elderly out numbered the younger generations by about 200 to 1. There were numerous tour buses and crown vics from all over the country, mainly from Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arizona for some reason. As you can see from the guy in white Stride-Rites and a proud Members Only jacket we kind of stood out. But never the less we had all come to Helen for the same reason and that is Oktoberfest. Even if I was there for the perfect beer and they were there for, I don’t know, the perfect frozen yogurt?

So after a few hours of shopping and old people watching we checked into the hotel. It’s nice to find a Hampton Inn where Deliverance was filmed. That movie is always in mind when I am in the North Georgia mountains because inbreds and banjos freak me out to no extent. Anyway the hotel was great and the people were so nice it was almost sickening. I’m sure if I requested to trade shoes with them they would do so and include their socks as well.

So after some rest and changed into my KISS ’75 Tour shirt we headed out for a night that I was made for; drinking, eating and being merry. Believe it or not Helen was pretty much a ghost town and the check in desk vaguely mentioned the festivities start at 7pm. So we made are way to the center of town to see where Oktoberfest began and all we could see was a line of old people going into a large covered pavilion. That was it and I a little worried I was going to be let down. But it was cool because a few beers can even make church enjoyable.

I write about our Oktoberfest fun tomorrow when I get the pictures back. So for now I will leave you with the first beer of the night. It’s my motto that all guests should have a beer or cocktail so there you are. Enjoy the brew and stop by tomorrow afternoon to read about Polka and the quest for the ultimate pumpkin from the scary, God fearing mountain patch of Dawsonville, GA.

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