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“Guten tag!” the enthusiastic cry rang out over downtown Hinesville as Zum Rosenhof German restaurant owners Anka and David Hinze ceremoniously tapped the first beer keg Friday night to kick off the city’s Oktoberfest.
Guten tag, a German greeting meaning hello or good day, was the perfect proclamation to start the festivities as the first day of Oktoberfest ended up being a good one, indeed. Hundreds of people crowded into the area around Bradwell Park for a night of revelry, yodeling, country music, German food and beer.
After the Hinzes filled steins for Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Vicki Davis, the four held up their mugs and offered the traditional toast to everyone in attendance, “Zicke-zacke-zicke-zacke hoy, hoy, hoy.”
The merriment continued until late Saturday evening.
Davis said the events success has her considering another Oktoberfest next year.
“We are already taking note of what went well, what we can improve on,” she said. “We hope to make this an annual event to benefit the community of Hinesville.”
Austrian-born Manuela Horn entertained the crowd with her comedic yodeling and coaxed audience members to form dance lines and try their yodeling skills. The actress and singer said she felt right at home in Hinesville.
“I was so surprised,” she said. “I spoke so much German here yesterday it was like wow … And I love this little city. It’s like a big family. Everybody is so comfortable with each other. It’s wonderful to perform here. This is way nicer than the big city.”
German bratwursts were served alongside funnel cakes and barbecue, giving festival attendees the opportunity to sample a variety of foods.
As day gave way to night, exhausted children were taken home and the adults continued to dance and sing.
Oktoberfest originally began in Munich on Oct. 18, 1810, to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.