Vancouver Sausage Fest now Elktoberfest

Vancouver Elks Lodge No. 823 to host Oktoberfest event Sept. 27-28

VANCOUVER — For more than 40 years, the Vancouver Sausage Fest was one of the most successful community events in Clark County. Now, the Vancouver Elks Lodge No. 823 will attempt to resurrect the popular event in the form of Elktoberfest.

The Sausage Fest, organized by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and school, officially ended it’s 40-plus run in 2014. Others have attempted to re-organize or re-create the event in recent years with little to no success. Now, it’s the Vancouver Elks’ turn to attempt to bring the popular festival back to life.
The Sausage Fest, organized by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and school, officially ended it’s 40-plus run in 2014. Others have attempted to re-organize or re-create the event in recent years with little to no success. Now, it’s the Vancouver Elks’ turn to attempt to bring the popular festival back to life.

The Sausage Fest, organized by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and school, officially ended it’s 40-plus run in 2014. Others have attempted to re-organize or re-create the event in recent years with little to no success. Now, it’s the Vancouver Elks’ turn to attempt to bring the popular festival back to life.

“I was a former St Joe’s mom who volunteered on the marketing and advertising of their Sausage Fest for many years,’’ said Traci Kezar, a member of the Vancouver Elks Lodge and a key organizer of Elktoberfest. “It was a 42-year-old tradition. Many in the community had attended it for years and when it shut down the community was disappointed. It’s location was not too far from the Elks Lodge and we, too, are all about tradition so it seemed like a good fit. Our lodge also has the members and facility to support it.’’

Even though this is the first attempt by the Vancouver Elks to organize the festival, Kezar has plenty of experience with similar events, in addition to her work at the Vancouver Sausage Fest.

“My first experience with the Elks, as an adult, was being asked to volunteer at their Hood River Oktoberfest,’’ said Kezar, whose friend was a member there, and also a person of German heritage. “After enjoying it, I thought, ‘why can’t we do that in Vancouver?’ Two years after joining, here we are.

“My goal for the fest was to create a community event, introduce a bigger target audience to the Elks and eventually create a bigger family event,’’ Kezar said. 

According to Kezar, Oktoberfest began as the marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810 in Munich, Germany. All of the townspeople were invited to attend the festival, which took place in the fields outside of the city gates. Following the wedding, the fields were named Theresienwiese after the Princess, and the party was such a hit that the townspeople asked King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following year. Oktoberfest in 2019 will mark the 212th anniversary of the festivities.

The festivities began October 12, 1810, and lasted for almost a week, until October 17,’’ Kezar said. “The public celebrations ended with an exciting horse race. After such a spectacular party, the happy couple decided that the same type of festival should be continued annually. In the following years, the galas were repeated every October, prolonged and, eventually moved forward into September primarily because of the weather.

“The Oktoberfest begins in September and ends in October on the first Sunday in October, or on October 3, which ever is later,’’ Kezar said. “It lasts for at least 16 days, so we were thinking why stop a good thing?’’

The inaugural Elktoberfest will take place at the Vancouver Elks Lodge, located at 11605 SE McGillvray Blvd. in Vancouver on Fri.-Sat., Sept. 27-28. The event will be open to all ages from 4-10 p.m. and will include food, beverages, music, and yard games. Kezar said future Elktoberfest events will likely include a marketplace and carnival, “but let’s see how this one goes,’’ she said.

Entrance to Elktoberfest is $5. Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help at the event.

“We need people to work three-hour shifts from 4 to 7 (p.m.) and 7-10 (p.m.),’’ Kezar said.

About the Vancouver Elks

The original Elks Lodge 823 was in downtown Vancouver. Since 1902, Elks Lodge 823 has been helping the Vancouver community through its numerous projects and events that benefit our neighbors, children and disadvantaged families. It also includes social activities for its members and guests and is a great place to make new friends, stay active and gather among colleagues.

Yearly, the over 725 members of Vancouver Elks Lodge No. 823 have:

Raised money for the Washington Elks Children’s Therapy Program

Donated over 1,500 stuffed animals 

Donated over 300 food boxes yearly for families

Taught discipline, hard work and practice through Hoop Shoot program

Contributed more than $3,650 in scholarships

Contributed over $18,000 in support, to over 500 veterans in Clark County through our veterans programs.

Supplied backpacks and school supplies to local schools and disadvantaged youth.

Held a community Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and Christmas party

For more information, go to https://elks823.org/ .

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