New Contests Highlight 28th Annual Oktoberfest

OCEAN CITY – The 28th Annual Oktoberfest will be held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on Oct. 9-11 featuring the laughter and fun of Bavaria.

Organizers invite visitors and residents to come and sing-a-long, dance, eat, drink and be merry with schnitzels, wursts and barrels of bier for three days and two nights of continuous music, arts and crafts, contests, prizes and fun for the whole family.

Featured entertainment for this year’s event include TheHappyWanders, The CowPolka’s, The Pennsylvania Villagers, Side by Side w/ Ruthie, Maurice, The Alpen Rose Dancers, DJ Dr. Ruth, KJ’s, "The Girlz",  "Hey Mick" and Dave Colt.

New for 2009 will be four contests with more than $1,100 in cash prizes. Contests featured will be "Ocean City has Talent" Karaoke Contest on Friday night; four dance contests on Saturday night featuring the chicken dance, hand dance, line dance and a polka; a knockwurst eating contest on Sunday; and a Sam Adams Stein holding competition. Additionally, there will be a Believe in Tomorrow’s 50/50 raffle drawing winner.

The karaoke contest on Friday night, from 7-11 p.m., offers prizes galore. A first place cash prize of $200 is made even more special with Ray Disney of Sonority Records, Inc. donating record time to the top finisher. Second place prize is a complimentary weekend stay in Ocean City and a goody bag, while third and fourth place finishers will receive goody bags filled with local gifts.

Ocean Promotions’ Mike Wicklein, event promotor, said the karaoke contest is among the many new additions to this year’s event.

“There are three new contests. The big one is the Friday night karaoke contest. We’ve got three KJs (karaoke jockeys) that will be working that and we’ve got quite a bit of talent coming in. There will be some room for some people in attendance to perform as well,” said Wicklein. “Top prize is $200, plus recording time in a recording studio. Second, third and fourth places will get goodie bags, gift certificates, weekends in Ocean City and so forth and so on, a lot of good stuff.”

Saturday night brings a variety of dance contests sure to bring a few laughs from attendees. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., there will be a line dancer’s dance contest with DJ Dr. Ruth, sponsored by the Greene Turtle. At 7:15 p.m., a chicken dance contest will be held. At 8 p.m., a hand dancers contest will be held with DR Ruth and sponsored by the Blue Ox. At 8:45 p.m., the Jolly Joe Polka Dance Contest will be held with the CowPolkas.

“Jolly Joe has been our lead band for 25 years. He passed away last winter, so we are naming it after him,” Wicklein said.

When planning this year’s event, Wicklein said he wanted to make sure the experience was different than previous years and subsequently made a concerted effort to aggressively add new wrinkles to the format.

“We felt like we needed to add a few new and exciting things. Our long-range plan is to next year double prizes and certainly bring in more talent and a higher quality of talent. After that, we would like to double it again,” Wicklein said. “We think that will put heads in beds and bring people from out of town into Ocean City as we start seeing a better quantity and quality of the prizes being awarded. We have a lot of new sponsors that have really stepped up.”

The fun continues on Sunday with more contests, according to Wicklein.

“On Sunday we will wrap our contest part up with a Sam Adams Stein holding contest. They will hold it out arm’s length at a 90-degree angle and the last man or woman standing will win. This is the first time ever for this. We don’t know if they will last a minute or an hour and 10 minutes. If they go too long, we will just start filling them up more and more,” Wicklein said. “We will then have our knockwurst contest after that, around 1:30 p.m. This is something you don’t want to miss.”

Along with the Oktoberfest activities, there will be an Art and Craft Fair all three days, featuring exhibitors from near and far, displaying and selling their unique treasures.

One admission charge includes both shows. Cost for adults is $6; seniors $5 for 55 and over; students $5; and free for military and children 13 and under. There will be free admission every day for anyone wearing their finest German style apparel, and admission is free Friday and Saturday nights after 6 for anyone wearing suspenders.

Hours of operation for Oktoberfest on Friday, Oct. 9 is 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for the art and craft fair; on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for the art and craft fair; and Sunday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for both shows.