Deutsches Haus isn't the only place hosting a local version of Oktoberfest. Plenty of restaurants get in on the act too, some with only the faintest tie-in to German culture.
For example, on a special "Oktoberfestive" menu at Gordon Biersch, the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based chain, is a dish that's hard to envision as Bavarian: Alaskan halibut served with Gulf shrimp and jasmine rice.
But the best German values idealized by Oktoberfest go far beyond a few sausage links and a stein of Munich-style beer. Really good Oktoberfest celebrations are about happy times and familial warmth. Deutsches Haus has that covered and I'm confident it will be on display tonight at the Oktoberfest-themed rendition of the Harrison Avenue Marketplace. This evening, Oct. 17, is the third run of the monthly event begun in August to demonstrate the momentum of self-directed recovery in Lakeview. It's part of a wave of new markets across town with similar goals and it is among the most successful new community events in the city, drawing thousands.
Tonight's Oktoberfest will include such family-oriented activities as an interactive pumpkin patch, a childrens book give-away and music from the Weiner Schnitzel Orchestra, including their version of the crowd-pleasing chicken dance. There will be a costume contest for children as well.
On the food front, the magnificent Vaucresson Sausage Company will grill bratwurst, and there are many other local food vendors. Look for P & J Oyster Company serving raw oysters and Dragos grilling their famous charbroiled oysters. Pascals Manale Restaurant will serve barbecue shrimp po-boys, and Galatoires returns with their shrimp remoulade. Monas Café will be there with Middle Eastern staples and there will be fresh-made crepes from Crepes a la Cart. Café Aldelaide will be on hand and Lakeview stalwart the Steak Knife will serve filet mignon sandwiches. There are many other food vendors, including caterers and grocery stores serving dishes and beverages.
Some of this might be as foreign to a visiting German as, say, Alaskan halibut, but I suspect the community camaraderie this market always summons will speak a language anyone can understand.
The market will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight, Oct. 17, at 801 Harrison Ave.
- Ian McNulty