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Yachats Oktoberfest Takes German Culture on Oregon Coast to New Levels with a Ton of Accordions

Published 09/21/23 at 5:37 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Yachats Oktoberfest Takes German Culture on Oregon Coast to New Levels with a Ton of Accordions

(Yachats, Oregon) – One tiny town on the Oregon coast will expand greatly at the end of October – but with something decidedly different than the usual festival of fun. Not only will there be perhaps a couple hundred more in teeny little Yachats, but its population of accordionists will shoot upwards suddenly as well. (Above: Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Welcome – or should we say "wilkommen" – zum Yachats and its first ever Oktoberfest. It takes over Yachats and the Yachats Commons on September 29 through October 1. This raucous collective of steins, beer, the Chicken Dance and bratwurst is the answer to the question: “how do you find a gig for the 11 accordionists we've gathered together in an Oregon coast burgh?”

It may have started out as a kind of “Accordian-palooza,” but it quickly grew into a true celebration of the traditional German music and food that fuels these wacky but joyous get-togethers. Among its main features are the “Tapping of the Keg” singing of the Yachats Oktoberfest song, accompanied by a 13-piece accordion band (it includes bass and trumpet). The evening continues with Polkafest, a lively event featuring dancing, beer, and bratwurst. Admission to Friday's events is free, with beer and brats available for purchase.

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This is the first official Oktoberfest they're putting together, but there was a seed event back just before the pandemic, according to Nan Scott, one of the organizers.

“Right before COVID shut everything down, we had a local event just to test interest,” Scott told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “Even without a whole lot of planning, it was a big success for our little village. So, yes this year is our first and we have pulled out all of the stops.”

Two of the accordionists: Granddaughter Avery from Albany and Grandmother Colleen from La Pine

On Saturday, September 30, this little German empire expands all over town. From 11 to 2 p.m., you can participate in the Volkswalk, visiting unique shops and having your prize-eligible Oktoberfest Passport checked. Later, look for wine tasting of actual wines from Germany, and a beer tasting event with specially-made brew from Yachats.

Later on Saturday, the big show returns to Yachats Commons for the Oktoberfest Dinner/Dance, with the first seating from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the second from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Yachats Oktoberfest Accordion Polka Band will entertain dancers and Yachats Big Band will lead the Hofbräuhaus Song, with new words honoring the Oktoberfest Yachats Beer. Attendees will receive a commemorative Yachats Oktoberfest Beer Stein with their meal. Tickets for the evening events cost $40.00, and seating is limited. Register at this yachats.org page.

On Sunday, October 1st, this little trip to Deutschland concludes with a Traditional Harvest Worship service at Yachats Community Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m. Hymns will be accompanied by the Polka Band. While the Oktoberfest Chorale sings, fruits and vegetables of the bountiful seasonal harvest will be paraded into the sanctuary. A German-themed social hour will follow the service.

Shirley Obrien, one of the organizers, is also one of the accordionists. Some of this festival can be tied to all the squeeze box players she had collected through online rehearsals, where she and her husband Jim joined with others from around the world. Now, those from Oregon are showing up.

“We have accordionists coming from La Pine, Albany, Eugene Roseburg Waldport, Newport; and Jim and I from Yachats,” she said.

Obrien said they created YouTube videos and had others practice / rehearse with those, sending out 18 different songs for them to print out.

“There are 11 accordionists coming together without a formal rehearsal until an hour before our performance,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “It could be brilliant or joyful chaos! In small German villages, it is very common to have accordionists form an annual Band and be a part of the festivities. However, in the West, especially the West Coast of Oregon, accordion bands are not a common group so we are hoping the uniqueness will bring people in to be a part of our Oktoberfest.”

The festival is a Yachats Community Presbyterian Church fun-raiser for outreach programs: Food Pantry, Don’s Place emergency shelter and so much more. https://yachats.org/events/oktoberfest

Contact: Bob Barrett agatepastor@peak.org; Shirley OBrien, sobrien@arizona.edu 520-241-1221 Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Yachats Maps and Virtual Tours MORE YACHATS BELOW



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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