fTM Felicia put together an excursion to a local biergarten for Oktoberfest. When she sent the original email it included the phrases ...it can't quite shake the Moose Lodge feel... and ...like attending the wedding reception of a relative you don't know... both of which made it imperative that i went. Let me tell you, she was not kidding, people. It was amazingly corny. There was paneling, grown men in lederhosen, people playing their own accordions; i wish i could truly convey how awesomely ridiculous the whole extravaganza was. I, of course, pinned up maiden braids across my head to get in a festive mood.
Here we are, Felicia's boyfriend Danny, Felicia, Abby, Lt Com. Laura, Laura's husband Kris, coworker Brian, former coworker and Jami's boyfriend Will, coworker Jami and me:
However, the entertainment more than made up for it. Polka Family was the band that night and the lead singer made sure that we were fully aware that they had been nominated four times for a Grammy Award; i didn't know there was a Grammy for polka, but okay. They were really good and did a great job of mixing traditional polkas with oom-pahed versions of popular songs. Did i mention that they had groupies? White haired groupies who brought their own cow bells and washboards to play along? I couldn't make this stuff up.
In between sets, there was a local German dance group that shared traditional dances and a bit of cultural background.
It seems that the guys do a lot of the fancy footwork while the girls spin, and i mean they spin and spin and spin - i don't understand how they didn't fall down. It was mesmerizing.
The group's leader, in a fabulous thick accent, talked about the genesis of each dance, including this one The Blacksmith's Dance:
Oh, you bet your bippy they broke out a maypole:
I had no idea that there are all sorts of intricate weavings, having only ever seen/done the traditional over/under steps. It was so cool to be watching the dancers and then see the patterns emerge in the ribbons.
Being out where people are dancing is one of the few times that i really mind being single; i love, love, love to dance. Anyone who has ever seen me dance can attest to the fact that i am, in fact, a horrendously bad dancer, but i do it with a lot of gusto. Well into the evening they were doing a second or third round of audience participation dances and i was vibrating a little in my seat when Kris shouted Let's GO! from the other end of the table. Lt. Com. Laura wanted absolutely nothing to do with dancing so i went out onto the floor with her husband.
We did this fun dance where you circle and switch partners. When i was with someone besides Kris i did a passable polka/fast waltz, but when Kris and I were partnered he said Go Crazy so we did. Here, because i can take the teasing, is a video of the resulting carnage - the laughter in the foreground is Laura and Jami:
Finally, i'll leave you with this video. The dancers brought out cow and sheep bells to play songs. What? you say. I was just as puzzled, but it was fabulous; in fact, i apologize if i was singing along in the video. You gotta watch to the end to see the oldster throw his hat: