The air is beginning to have a crisp freshness. It’s that time of year again, Oktoberfest.
There is a little bit of heaven in Helen, Georgia. This little Bavarian town was established in the 1800’s, once territory of the Cherokee Indians. Their cobblestone roads, red clay top roofs and distant mountains remind me of when I was in Germany. There really is no bad time to visit this little town that is always filled with tourists walking the drives. Shops line the streets and entertainers sing or display magic tricks. A horse drawn buggy is a must when visiting.
According to Helen’s tourist association, “Oktoberfest, it’s the German word for fun! Well, that may not be the actual translation, but to the folks attending Helen’s Oktoberfest every year it may as well be. Oktoberfest in Helen may have started out small in the 70’s, but over the years, and through word of mouth, it has grown into the biggest party in the Southeast. And this is not one of those one-week festivals; this celebration lasts 2 months!”
Whether you prefer to attend the festival day or night, there is always something to consume. “During the day, you may decide to browse the shops, relax in a beer-garden, or simply enjoy Helen’s perfect weather and beautiful scenery. At night, however, all paths lead to Helen’s massive Festhalle. Located within walking distance of most hotels, the Festhalle is the spot for authentic German bands, food, beer, and fun. You can either spend the evening dancing the Polka and the chicken dance, or you can relax in the adjacent beer garden and enjoy the crisp night air. Whichever section of the huge Festhalle you like best be sure to sample the fresh cooked wursts, and large variety of German beers.”
Festivities begin the second weekend of September beginning with a Saturday noon parade, following with their “tapping of the keg.” If the shops and food is not enough for the casual tourist, there is plenty more activities to partake. The weather still warm and the Chattahoochee River running through the town, floating down the river on a round tube can bring hours of fun for all ages.
There is also a cozy little train shop that will take you away into another land. “Experience a Unique Trip through Germany! Charlemagne’s Kingdom is a Alpine Model railroad layout, in HO scale miniature Charlemagne’s Kingdom is designed for people for all ages…And, for the people who have not the opportunity visiting or touring Germany. All of the buildings are replicas of buildings existing in Germany, over five thousand hand painted figures, 400′ of railroad track, computerized trains, and hot air balloons, three ring circus, mountains 22′ tall, and much more. While you are here, watch the Glockenspiel dancer in the Gingerbread House. (Jolly’s Toys) Six wooden carved German Dancers 4 feet tall, in colorful custom dress, dancing to German music three times Daily.”
Walking down the stroll with a pretzel in hand will complete the ambiance of Oktoberfest. Guten Tag!