Oktoberfest brings a bit of Germany to Naperville
By David Sharos For The Sun October 6, 2012 5:32PM
Tom Goeke of Brookfield IL, tries to teach his daughter Delilah 4, how to polka dance during Oktoberfest at Naperville Settlement, on Saturday, October 7, 2012 in Naperville IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2012 12:20PM
Cooler weather seems to welcome hearty foods like bratwurst, sauerkraut and some hearty bread. Toss back a nice German beer and you’re living life large.
All of that and more was available Friday night and Saturday throughout the day as the Naper Settlement held its annual Oktoberfest, an event marketing and sales representative Donna DeFalco said is among the best throughout the area.
“This is such a fun and important event because it ties in with our mission regarding preservation and also because so many of our original settlers here back in the 1800s were German,” DeFalco said.
For a number of years, the local Rotary club hosted the fest until the group elected to go in another direction. The Settlement took it over in 2009. The event now serves as a major fundraiser for the Naperville Heritage Society.
Steve Grosskopf, who served as chairman of this year’s event said crowds last year “reached capacity so this year’s venue had to be expanded.”
“There are restrictions of size and we had to go to a bigger staging area this year,” he said.
He hoped about 1,500 people would attend the event.
“Last year we raised $18,000 and our hope this time is for $20,000. We want a more community-based event and to continue to highlight what we do here and our mission,” he said.
The band O.M.T. played Friday night. It includes local attorney and graduate of Naperville Central Dick Kuhn.
“The Settlement has lined up bands that range from the traditional German music to the stuff we do and there’s a nice blend,” he said. “People from all over rave about the beers offered here and the food. It’s just a chance to have a good time.”
Those braving the cool temperatures said reasons for coming ranged from hanging out with friends to simply wanting to support whatever Naperville was offering.
“We love this community and while we like the ‘Oompah’ bands and the cold beer, we enjoy seeing the people and supporting Naperville,” said Barbara Benton, who came with her husband Jeff. “If there’s a party, we’re coming.”
Jennifer Dunn of Westmont said she was meeting friends from Naperville at the fest this weekend.
“I’ve come here the past few years and they always have great food with fun people and good music,” she said. “I’ll admit I enjoy the beer, too. Going to the real Oktoberfest in Germany is something that is definitely on my bucket list someday. I think non-German people get into this pretty much the same as everyone does for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s just about getting together and having a good time.”
Bob Karl, formerly from Naperville, and his wife Terry said there were enjoying duel functions Friday night as the couple met friends in the Settlement House for a 50-year grade school reunion which would be followed by more celebrating at Oktoberfest.