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Mt. Angel Oktoberfest goes virtual

COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel their in-person festival and wildfires postponed the virtual celebration, which is now on for October 3.

MT ANGEL, Ore. — Buckle your lederhosen and grab your beer stein, the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest will celebrate virtually, on Saturday, October 3.

COVID-19 forced organizers to think outside the box after canceling their in-person celebration that draws 400,000 people.

“We're calling it Oktoberfest 2020 Zuhaus Edition, which means the at-home edition,” said Monica Bochsler, public relations director for the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Organizers had originally planned the virtual celebration for late September, but rescheduled it after the Oregon wildfires hit.

On Oct. 3, festival participants can eat, drink and polka at home from 4-10 p.m. when entertainment will streaming online. One band will even perform live from Germany. You can also buy Oktoberfest goodies online through Sept. 30 and pick them up from Mt. Angel’s festival site Thursday through Saturday.

“We've, got sausage and mustard and buns and we've got a carefully curated selection of beers as we always do,” said Bochsler. “They can pre-order and pick up and take home with them.”

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest started small in 1965, in a bank parking lot, but it's grown every year. Its nonprofit food booths raise $750,000 for community groups like church organizations, little league and schools. The festival itself raises another $100,000 for local nonprofits. 

It's hard to say what they'll raise this year, but donations are welcome.

“If people are willing to get on the website and even give us half of what they normally would spend and know that it's going to support the nonprofit groups,” said Mt. Angel Oktoberfest president, Bill Bischoff. “I would love to see that kind of funding come in.”