BENNINGTON — As a lively five-piece band pumped out polka music, it was difficult for people in the crowd not to leap to their feet, grab their lover or the nearest friend, and dance a two-step.
When at an Oktoberfest, do as the Germans do.
Saturday marked the 6th year the NorShaft Lions Club hosted the event in the Bavarian tradition at the Hubbel Homestead at Colgate Park.
German cuisine, live entertainment, and of course, beer, were all plentiful.
David and Jessica Pincus of Middleboro, Mass., said attending the event is becoming a tradition during their visit to Bennington every Columbus Day weekend. Their group consisted of 16 people from three families from the South Shore of Massachusetts. They said they also make a point to stop at Lake Shaftsbury State Park, among other attractions.
"My grandfather bought a house in Bennington when I was a kid and we've been coming here ever since," David Pincus said.
"It's great family time. The kids are off the computer and TV," said Valerie Tawa of Middleboro, Mass.
When asked what the families like, her husband Joe Tawa said: "The cider donuts. The cheese. The clean air. The beautiful scenery."
Bethy Tawa, 7, and Samantha Shay, 6, both squealed with delight after having their faces painted.
The idea of Oktoberfest, a German public festival, grew out of a lively wedding ceremony between Bavarian Crown Prince Louis and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in 1810. Traditional food, music and a cheerful spirit are hallmarks of Oktoberfests held each year around the world.
The NorShaft Lions Club's event drew about 1,600 people this year, said event Chairman Bert Savoia, besting last year's 1,100.
Under a camelot tent, attendees enthusiastically danced to Albany-based polka band, the Rymanowski Brothers Orchestra.
At a beer tent sponsored by Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant of North Bennington, volunteers poured several varieties of craft brew. Others manned the grill where they cooked bratwurst, knockwurst, pierogies and potato pancakes.
Some 45 different Vermont craft vendors displayed their wares, from paintings and woodworking to preserves and maple syrup.
The money raised on Saturday goes into the Lions' programs, including the purchase of hearing aids and eye glasses for those in need.
Contact Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.