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Oktoberfest returns for its 18th year in Chippewa Falls

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS Wis. (WEAU) - Oktoberfest came back to the Northern Wisconsin State fairgrounds for the first time since 2019. Program Director for the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Tasha Weiss, says it’s nice to be back after a hiatus last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of Oktoberfest is people coming together, we’re like a family,” Weiss said. “The committee members, the royalty, the community all rallies together. There’s a German word of gemütlichkeit and that really encompasses our event and it’s just friendship and welcoming and it’s great to be back with that.”

2021′s Oktoberfest featured a variety of entertainment for the family.

“We have five stages of entertainment. Behind me is the glockenspiel stage,” Weiss said. “We have sign-holding competitions, sauerkraut eating competitions up on the stage as well and keg rolling.”

Jerry and Mary Kuehl are the 2021 Oktoberfest Festmeister and Festmeistrin.

“It’s just a humbling experience and it’s a privilege to represent Chippewa and be just the hosts for this great event for a year,” Mary said.

The Kuehl’s aren’t originally from Chippewa Falls, which makes being selected a treat.

“Frankly, I just it humbling to not being from Chippewa, but raised in the community and then to be celebrated in this way and honored in such a way is just really humbling,” Jerry said.

The Kuehl’s have been attending Oktoberfest since the first one in 2003.

“We came up as part of that and out of the last 18 years, we’ve been here about 16 of those 18 years,” Jerry said.

One of Mary’s favorite parts of Oktoberfest is the live music.

“This is big band and swing and then we’ve got the traditional polka and then some country and rockish and it’s just a wide variety,” Mary said.

Jerry says it’s the events you can only find at Oktoberfest that he enjoys the most.

“We’ll have the human glockenspiel and sauerkraut eating contest and then stien-holding,” Jerry said. “So, that’s something that’s unique to Oktoberfest and to this Oktoberfest.”

Once again, gemütlichkeit returns to Chippewa Falls.

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