Oktoberfest’s PRH gift deserves a hearty Prost!

Bavarian dancers added to the multicultural flavour of Penticton Oktoberfest at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. Oktoberfest and the Penticton Heidelberg Club are donating $30,000 to help provide medical equipment for the PRH expansion.

Penticton’s annual Oktoberfest organizers are celebrating the popularity of the Bavarian multicultural event with an impressive gift to Penticton Regional Hospital.

The Penticton Oktoberfest Society is donating $25,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s PRH tower campaign and the Penticton Heidelberg Club is contributing a further $5,000. The money will help acquire medical equipment for the new patient care tower at PRH now nearing completion.

The 9th annual Oktoberfest held on October 20, 2018 offered a fun, energetic evening of German music, dancing, food and drink at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

Society president Barb Schneiderat said that’s the whole point of Oktoberfest.

“It’s a fun night. That dance floor is full from six o’clock to midnight,” she said. “It’s a place where people can have food, drink and a great time – while putting some money back into the community. It’s a win.”

Over the past eight years, the event has raised thousands to help the hospital, as well as other community causes.

Schneiderat said as a multi-cultural event, Oktoberfest is reason to celebrate.

In addition to lots of oompa music with The Beer Barrels from Vancouver, the AVC Edelweiss Dancers  provided a taste of traditional Bavarian dancing.  The popular local band Uncorked offered classic rock and pop music to close out the evening.

Schneiderat said the idea of an Oktoberfest in Penticton was first proposed in 2010 to help bolster the fall tourism season. A society was soon formed and volunteers were recruited to launch the event.

The City of Penticton provided the society with a $10,000 start-up loan which was quickly paid back in full. Since then, the event has raised from $7,000 to $8,000 a year for charity.

“We figured it was going to take us four years to pay it back, but we paid it back in two years,” she said. “We’ve worked with Rotary from Day 1. They share a bit of the profits.”

Other organizations such as the Yes Youth Centre, JCI (Junior Chamber International), the SS Sicamous, Search and Rescue, South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls (SORCO), and a vegetable garden at Queen’s Park Elementary School have also benefited.

Bert Betschart, spokesman for the Penticton Heidelberg Club and a member of the Oktoberfest Society, said many of the club’s more than 75 members volunteer at Oktoberfest. Some of them also wear lederhosen and other traditional German outfits which adds to the evening’s Bavarian atmosphere.

The new six-storey David E. Kampe Tower at PRH is due to open in April 2019.  Construction will then start on Phase 2 including a major upgrade to the Emergency Department.