College Hill hosts third annual Oktoberfest

SOFIA LEGASPI, Campus Life Editor

A piece of Germany visited College Hill last Saturday evening during the third annual Oktoberfest.

Those in attendance were able to enjoy music provided by the Octopus, beers from Single Speed Brewery and German-inspired food from La Calle food truck.

La Calle was also present at the Pear Fair, which had taken place in the same location earlier in the day.

“That really is a benefit to us as a partner because it keeps costs down for both of the events,” said Kathryn Sogard, executive director for the College Hill Partnership. “It gives people a reason to be on the Hill and stay on the Hill and not only go to both of those events, but also attend many of the College Hill businesses in between.”

Oktoberfest participants also had the chance to play bags (otherwise known as “cornhole”), giant Jenga and hammerschlagen, a German game in which participants race to drive a nail into a tree stump.

Stephanie Smith, a senior management information systems and marketing double major, was about to try hammerschlagen with her friend, who brought her to the event.

“It seems interesting and dangerous, but it looks like fun,” Smith said with a laugh.

One of the main attractions at this year’s Oktoberfest was a beard contest hosted by Chad’s Pizza. The contest included four different categories: mustache, partial beard, full beard natural and freestyle.

UNI alum Alex Funke had won in the partial beard category two years ago. Funke was now the main sponsor for the beard contest and manning the Chad’s Pizza tent, complete with a red carpet and photographer.

“They didn’t put on the contest last year, and I was kind of disappointed,” Funke said. “And then they weren’t gonna do it again this year, and when I heard that I said, ‘I’ve got to do it. Someone’s got to do it.’”

Contest prizes included gift cards for Chad’s Pizza and products from Butler and Sons Barber Shop in Waterloo.

While the original Oktoberfest is a two-week festival held annually in Munich, Germany, smaller versions of the festival have been gaining popularity across the United States.

“I think because us as Americans are from all over the place, we like to celebrate being American, but we also like to celebrate the cultures that we come from,” Sogard said. “And I think it’s just a way for people to learn more about their heritage outside of the U.S. and kind of celebrate that — even if you  [. . .] might not be German — it’s kind of a way to learn about the culture.”

“I really love community activities, mostly when it does involve somebody’s heritage,” said Kassi Decuir, a senior double majoring in psychology and leisure, youth and human services. “You know, getting to see a piece of somebody’s roots.”