Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

September 18, 2014 at 12:09pm

Oktoberfest South Sound 2014: Ahoy YachtoberFest Tacoma!

Hydroplane Champion Chip Hanauer will be front and center at the Yachtoberfest event in Tacoma Oct. 4. Photo courtesy of theboatguy.com

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Given the Teutonic propensity with precision, you'd think the Germans would have at least gotten the name for Oktoberfest right. Why not call it "Septemberfest" or "Autumnfest," since the annual celebration takes place primarily during the month of September? Then again, Oktoberfest just has a nice ring to it, a yearly reminder that fall is once again with us, and that it's OK to eat hot bratwurst and drink cold beer in funny leather shorts. If historical precedence is your cup of tea, you'll be happy to know that the Germans have been indulging in Oktoberfest for more than 200 years now.

Actually, I can't really blame the Germans for mislabeling Oktoberfest, since they don't even call the event Oktoberfest. They prefer the term "Wies'n." Why Wies'n? Long before beer, bratwurst and lederhosen became Oktoberfest icons, Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. This was back in October 1810. Being a people person, Prince Ludwig (who would eventually become crazy King Ludwig I) invited the entire city of Munich to attend his nuptials, held on the lush fields in front of Munich's city gates. Following the happy affair, those fields were re-named "Theresienwiese (Theresa's fields), after the crown princess. In time though, the locals seemed to have forgotten Theresa and shortened the name of the fields where Oktoberfest is held simply to "Wies'n." And that's how the folks in Munich refer to their annual beer and brats bash.

This year marks the 181st Oktoberfest in Munich. And in case you're questioning my math, know that although the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, the Germans were forced to cancel their annual beer fest many times due to war, cholera and once, inflation. But present-day Oktoberfest is alive and well. Indeed, it's the single largest festival in the world. Over the duration of the two-week celebration - which this year runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 5 - Munich's Oktoberfest will host some six million visitors. That's a lot of suds. But what really surprises me is that more than one million litres of non-alcoholic beer is consumed. This, apparently, by designated drivers. In addition, half a million pork sausages, half a million chickens and 59,000 pork knuckles were eaten at last year's Oktoberfest, not to mention 87 oxen.

Although the scale is a little less majestic than Munich's, you don't have to bolt to Bavaria to experience the spirit of Oktoberfest - you can enjoy our own subdued version of Wies'n right here in the South Sound. While Seattle's big Fremont Oktoberfest is this weekend, as is the big one in Monroe, and Bavarian village Leavenworth hosts its celebration the first three weekends in October, the South Sound has ample Oktoberfest celebrations on the docket. Let's take a look at one ...

>>> Photo credit: michaeljordanphoto.com

YachtoberFest

I'm launching my Oktoberfest quest with the first annual boats, beers and bratwurst event, YachtoberFest. If you haven't seen the University of Puget Sound sorority sister holding a stein along the Thea Foss Waterway promotion, then by some miracle the Tacoma Waterfront Association has you on their 20th tier list. The 50 or so slated sisters in lederhosen earning their community service will be one of the many highlights of the one-day celebration combining yachts, beer and German-inspired food on the Historic Thea Foss Waterway esplanade Saturday, Oct. 4. My guess, the sisters serving the bratwursts are the pledges.

"The whole idea was born with The Boat Guy," says Philip Panagos, owner of The Social Bar and Grill, and the man behind YachtoberFest's beer and food organization. "The Boat Guy is a web series by Sam Bisset that stars hydroplane champion Chip Hanauer promoting boating during the off-season, a time when Northwesterners have their boats in storage. They made a bunch of fun videos, building around the personality of Chip Hanauer, who, by the way, is a really cool, funny guy. Anyway, Sam and Chip hosted a February event in Poulsbo, and the folks at the Foss Harbor Marina where there, too. Realizing Tacoma could benefit from a similar event, they approached Hanauer. A couple meetings here at The Social and Oktoberfest was hatched from this group to be an Oktoberfest-style gathering at the Tacoma waterfront to benefit Tacoma Waterfront Association.

Since those early meetings, KOMO has picked up The Boat Guy, and the word is a national production company is looking at it, too. Hanauer and The Boat Guy machine will be a big part of YachtoberFest Oct. 4, leading the keg tap at 11:45 a.m.

Besides his connections in the food and beer industry, Panagos was a natural selection to head the food and drink since YachtoberFest will be held in front of his restaurant, next to the Museum of Glass.

"My two restaurants will be doing food," explains Panagos. "We'll serve three different bratwursts out of The Social, and a German-inspired pizza from Paesan Kitchen and Bar. Fleischkuechle, the German food truck, will be parked at the event. Hess Bavarian pretzels will make the drive from Lakewood. Choripan By Asado at the Museum of Glass will be open during the event, too.

>>> Photo credit: michaeljordanphoto.com

Currently 15 breweries, three wineries and a couple cideries are on board. Panagos would like to have 20. A few he hoped would be there, such as Narrows Brewing and Pacific Brewery & Malting Company, had scheduling conflicts. The breweries who will be pouring their Oktoberfest beers, harvest ales, pumpkin stouts and other brews mostly reside in Washington state. Sierra Nevada will make the trip up from California. Seattle's Two Beers Brewing and its sister business Seattle Cider Co. will both pour at YachtoberFest. Other confirmed breweries throwing on the lederhosen include 7 Seas Brewing, Harmon Brewing Co., Wingman Brewers, Odd Otter Brewing Co., Mac & Jack's, Georgetown Brewing, Northwest Brewing, Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, Boundary Bay Brewery, Iron Horse Brewery, American Brewing and Full Sail. Several South Sound and Seattle breweries are still checking schedules.

Proceeds from YachtoberFest will benefit the Tacoma Waterfront Association, the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation and Citizens for a Healthy Bay, all three non-profits have nothing but Tacoma's waterfront on the brain at all times. As of this writing, $4,000 in pre-sales has been collected and 40-50 boat slips have been sold (boaters are invited to a VIP party Oct. 3). The goal is to host 2,000 people drinking beer, eating German food and doing the schuhplattler dance in front of tropical rock musician Dave Calhoun, Rock n Roll Magic and Southern rockers from Puyallup, SweetKiss Momma.

"An Oktoberfest event makes sense," says Panagos. "The Tacoma Craft Beer Festival proved people would travel to this area to drink beer, Brew Five Three went well, farmers markets do well and there isn't a big, one-day Tacoma Oktoberfest celebration."

The event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, stretching along the esplanade from the Museum of Glass to the entry of the Foss Harbor Marina, rain or shine. It's a 21 and older only event with controlled exit and entry points. Tickets are $12 advance and $20 at the gate. Beverage tickets will be five for $10. Each ticket is worth a 5-ounce beer pour; two tickets will put a 12-ounce pour. Limited edition commemorative beer steins and apparel will be available for purchase.

Moorage will be available at Delin Docks, Dock Street Marina, Foss Harbor Marina and the Foss Waterway Seaport. Click here to secure moorage. Boat shuttles will run from Johnny's Dock and Rock The Dock Bar and Grill. A shuttle from the Tacoma Dome parking lot is in the works.

"Traditional Oktoberfest costumes are encouraged," says Panagos.

While Oktoberfest celebrations don't generally involve water, unless Matthew McConaughey surfaces in a German submarine, YachtoberFest should be a Hupen, or "hoot."

LINK: More 2014 Oktoberfest events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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