CHESTERMERE – German music, beer and strudel could all be found in excess during the Chestermere / United Way Partnership’s Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 15.
The event, which was held at the recreation centre, saw over 300 people in attendance and was completely sold out.
Kim Mikkelsen, chair of the United Way / Chestermere partnership, said that the event was a success overall and that they have received lots of good feedback from attendees.
“The reviews were have heard have been very positive,” she said. “We’ve had a few comments about the food and how it could maybe have been better, but we tried to stick with the Oktoberfest theme for that.
“Theres some things we need to change for the future, because the layout of everything in the hall wasn’t the best and our beer line got backed up sometimes, but those are things the we need to look at from this year and change it up for next year.
“But everyone I’ve spoken has given me really positive feedback, and I think we got a better result because we opened it up to a wider community.”
Mikkelsen said that people were both enthusiastic and generous, and got into the live auction. She said that they auctioned off some great items and trips. She said that the community treasure chest, which was made up of donations from tons of local businesses in the community, sold for about $450.
“That was great to see because people didn’t even know what was in it when they were bidding on it,” she said. “It was full of gift certificates for community businesses, and was received really well, we were really pleased about that.”
The band, Dixie Knights, played german music for a good portion of the evening. Mikkelsen said that seeing people get up and dance and just have a good time made the event all the more successful.
“People just had a good time, and I truly believe that it was better than last year’s event because it was more casual,” she said. “People felt that they could get into the spirit of it, and they definitely did.
“The community really came together, and the amount of money raised is great for a community of our size.”
In the end, the event raised over $20,000 for the United Way/Chestermere Partnership. The funding will go towards supporting local community groups.
Mikkelsen said that she hopes the annual event turns into a tradition in Chestermere, and that they hope to do bigger and better things every year.
“Being in the bigger venue this time allowed us to increase the crowd and the audience,” she said. “Having the theme also drew a lot of people out, and I think the idea of having a theme that reflects a celebration that goes on in the world, whether it’s Oktoberfest or Mardi Gras or whatever, is better because people can get dressed up and really have fun with it.
“I think picking a good theme every year will help make things a success in years to come.”
Mikkelsen said that Molson, Mo’s Liquor Store, M&M Meat Shops Chestermere, the General Store, Sobeys Forest Lawn, and all of the other sponsors deserve a huge thank-you.
“All the volunteers that helped plan the event, and the volunteers that were there at the event helping out with setup, cleanup, ticket sales and everything else, they all deserve a huge thanks as well,” she said. “Mountain View (Funeral Home) was great too, the limo rides were a hit, and we raised $480 from those alone.
“So thanks to everyone who sponsored us and helped out, and thank-you to everyone in the community for coming out and supporting us for another year.”