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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

V-Town Oktoberfest A Resounding Success

From left, Kimberly Clarke, Karen Bowman, Joel Lapointe, Carri Williston-Dach, and Jaime Couture. Photo submitted

On September 23, a touch of Germany descended upon Vermilion as Renee and Harm Tjardes, the dynamic duo behind the event, hosted the first-ever V-Town Oktoberfest at the Vermilion Elks Hall. The celebration was a harmonious blend of Vermilion’s charm and the spirited essence of Munich.

Renee, a Vermilion native, embarked on a life-changing journey, leaving her hometown after high school to live in Germany for two decades. Her husband Harm, with roots deeply entrenched in Germany, joined her on her return to Vermilion in August 2020, along with their two boys. This international fusion of backgrounds set the stage for a remarkable evening.

Promising an Oktoberfest experience that might not rival the grandeur of the Munich festivities but would undoubtedly capture its essence, the event did not disappoint. Stepping through the doors of the Elks Hall was akin to being transported from Vermilion to Munich itself. Lively music filled the air, inspiring spontaneous bouts of singing and dancing, while the aroma of freshly baked pretzels wafted enticingly through the venue.

The culinary centerpiece of the evening was a sumptuous feast prepared by the renowned Red Brick. Attendees were treated to a delightful array of dishes, including locally sourced Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) from Vermilion Packers, Wiesenhendl (roast chicken) from Pine Meadow Meats (related to the Mannville Colony), and the iconic Bratwurst, also from Vermilion Packers, whose German workers faithfully adhere to an authentic recipe. No Oktoberfest meal would be complete without a tantalizing array of sides and condiments, from Kartoffelknodel (potato dumpling) and Spatzle (egg noodles) to sauerkraut, Rotkohl (cooked red cabbage), Bretzein (pretzels), BiersoBe (beer gravy), and CurrysoBe (curry ketchup), all accompanied by the indispensable Senf (mustard). To satisfy sweet cravings, attendees could indulge in Rote Grutze (red berry dessert) and Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (black forest cake).

While traditional costumes were not mandatory, many embraced the spirit of the occasion by donning traditional dress, adding a touch of authenticity to the festivities. Guests were also treated to an array of musical delights, with three bands ensuring that the dance floor was never empty. The Alpen Schatz, a lively ensemble from Medicine Hat with deep roots in accordion music, provided a spirited backdrop to the night. Joining them were the Flatland Beer Bandits and the rhythmic melodies of the Bricktop.

Jaime Couture, an attendee, summed up the evening perfectly: “The night was absolutely amazing, the food was delicious, the music and entertainment were great, and it was way busier than I expected.”

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