Food-Banking on Oktoberfest

By Beacon Staff

When you think “food” and “Oktoberfest,” you’re probably thinking bratwurst and sauerkraut, strudel and German chocolate cake – or maybe a soft, hot salted pretzel, right? That’s only natural!

But at this year’s Oktoberfest we’re also thinking canned fruits, veggies and other non-perishable food items, as in donations to the North Valley Food Bank.

When the Fourth Annual Great Northwest Oktoberfest opens for business this Thursday at 5 p.m. in Whitefish Depot Park, we’re hoping to see hundreds of local folks lined-up at the Main Gate, loaded with food that will help feed the less fortunate in our community this winter. And we’ll buy them their first beer if they do!

Thursday, Sept. 26 is already “Locals Night” at Oktoberfest, so everyone with a Flathead County driver’s license gets in to the opening night festivities free of charge. But this year there’s a little added “bonus” in it for you – and the community – if you make a donation to the Food Bank! Bring at least two cans of food (or other non-perishable food items) with you on Thursday night, and the volunteers at the festival’s Main Gate will reward you with a coupon for a free draft beer from Whitefish’s very own Great Northern Brewery!
That’s right, two cans of food equals one free GNB Oktoberfest, Wheatfish or Stammtisch draft on Thursday nights!

The offer is limited to just one coupon per person, and is only valid on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3. Obviously, you need to be 21 or older and have a legit ID to participate, and your donation to the Food Bank must be presented at the time you first enter the festival. We’ll collect the donations and present them to the Food Bank in early October, on behalf of the Chamber and our Oktoberfest family, including all of you!

Charities benefit throughout the festival

One thing that casual Oktober-festers may not realize is that a handful of local charities benefit throughout the two-week festival and that they help make the Oktoberfest the community-based event that the Chamber wants it to be. Each night, a different group of volunteers donates their time to staff the Oktoberfest Bar, and the tips received that evening goes to the charity of their choice.

Among the organizations volunteering and/or benefiting this year are Habitat for Humanity, Whitefish Pottery (for the Flathead Valley Animal Shelter), the local Knights of Columbus, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Grouse Mountain Lodge (for the Community Center) and the Lodge at Whitefish Lake (for the Food Bank).

So come on out to Depot Park this weekend to enjoy the food, drink, music and dancing – and tip big! Our local nonprofit organizations will be glad you did.

Saturday is Family Day at Oktoberfest!

This Saturday afternoon at the Great Northwest Oktoberfest it will be “prime time” for families, with youngsters packing the dance floor to do the Chicken Dance, heading outside to hit the free bouncy houses, chomping on pretzels and bratwurst corndogs, getting their faces painted and generally having the run of the Oktoberfest tent.

Sponsored by the good folks at Flathead Electric Co-op, our Family Day activities begin when the main gates open at noon and run until 4 p.m. The Flathead’s own Bavarian Echoes will provide the oom-pah, polka and waltz music, but the real entertainment is the youngsters!

Kids 12 and under are always free when accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more information visit, or call the Whitefish Chamber at 862-3501

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