Perhaps you felt the faint chill of an Alpine breeze last week, or heard the far off sound of an alpenhorn echoing over Marco.
Don’t worry, the endless summer hasn’t addled your brains. There really was a little touch of the highland on the Island, when the Marco Island Yacht Club (MIYC) hosted an Oktoberfest celebration Saturday night. And the weather even cooled off for a few days.
Club manager Alain Prion greeted arriving members at the front door, and the sounds of “gemutlichkeit,” or good times, carried clearly down the stairs. MIYC had just reopened the day before, after being closed for September, so the Oktoberfest represented a reunion for the members and a chance to catch up with friends they might not have seen recently.
Prion emphatically scotched the rumors of the yacht club closing permanently, saying “I wouldn’t be here it that were the case.”
“What you see tonight is basically the people who live here on the Island,” said chairman of the board, Paul McCarthy. “It’s a little early in the season yet, but we do have 60 members here tonight.” McCarthy said the evening was all about having a good time, and added “I intend to keep my clothes on the entire evening, even in the parking lot.”
Speaking of clothes, Rudi Landwaard, port captain and MIYC board member, and fellow member Frank Renkel donned appropriate outfits for the occasion, showing up in authentic Bavarian lederhosen, complete with suspenders and ornate embroidery. Landwaard also brought along a beer stein he picked up in Munich.
Upstairs, authentic German music was provided by the Hafenkapelle, or Harbor Band. The 18-piece — plus or minus — German brass band, based in Cape Coral, played traditional favorites, heavy on the polka. Selections included the Herz Schmerz Polka, Schwarzwald Marie, and Jetzt ist zeit fur die Polka, along with Rambling Rose.
As a special Bavarian touch, bandleader Jim Walker, Dave Thornton and Harry Meisenbach played three enormous Alpenhorns, proving surprisingly agile on the traditional 10-foot long instruments.
“It’s just like the Ricola commercials,” Well, it’s Oktoberfest — we must have oom-pah.”
“It’s just like the Ricola commercials,” said attendee Ted Busch. “Well, it’s Oktoberfest — we must have oom-pah.”
While one key feature of Oktoberfest is typically copious quantities of beer, most of the partygoers favored wine or mixed drinks, judging from the glasses in their hands. But when it came to food, it was German all the way.
Club members feasted on pumpernickel and fresh-made pretzels, German potato salad, bratwurst, kielbasa, flavored sausages, wienerschnitzel, and German meatballs, accompanied by spaetzle, sweet and sour cabbage, and German fried vegetables. Dessert featured Black Forest cake, strudel and Bavarian cream cheese cake.
At least for one evening, Marco Island took on the spirit — or spirits — of Munich.