Oktoberfest Inc. is back to building a better festival…and tables!
The chicken dance, 1,500 planks of wood and a lot of teamwork….what do they all have in common? Tulsa’s Oktoberfest.
Sounds strange but given the circumstances of the past year or so, not unlikely for one of Tulsa’s largest and longest running events. As the festival takes place over 6.5 acres with six tents to host attendees, tables are a must in order for patrons to have a place to sit, relax and enjoy the food, beverages and entertainment that the festival offers.
For many years, the festival worked a trade with both Bell’s Amusement Park and Expo Square to procure over 400 tables to accommodate the 60,000 who attend each year. However with the unfortunate closure of Bell’s in 2007, three-hundred of those tables were no longer available after the 2007 festival. This left Oktoberfest in a bit of a quandary as how to find seats for everyone in 2008 and on!
After many discussions, debates and negotiations, it was decided to tackle the project ourselves and build the tables from scratch. No small feat considering this decision came with six-hundred metal frames, fifteen-hundred pieces of wood, an uncountable number of nuts and bolts and many, many hours of volunteer time. The frames were ordered from Texas and the wood graciously sold at cost to Oktoberfest by Mill Creek Lumber. With the leadership of long-time volunteer Jeff O’Brien, the first work party took place on April 5th and with over 25 volunteers present, 100 tables were built that day. Quite a task considering some of those volunteers were around the first time the tables were built-over 20 years ago!
Continuing the momentum, another 99 tables were built on April 19th and the Oktoberfest “Table Crew” is slated for their final building party this Saturday, May 3rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oktoberfest, Inc. offices at 3 North Lawton Avenue. Volunteers are asked to bring their energy, elbow grease and tools and in return they receive food, beverages (donated by Pepsi Bottling Group of Tulsa and Budweiser) and some camaraderie. Watching the volunteers crank out these tables is a sight to behold. As 2008 Chair Tawana James stated, “The teamwork of the volunteers has really paid off with this venture. It is our volunteers that have made our organization so successful for the past thirty years.”
To help offset the costs of the table supplies; Oktoberfest is asking for companies and individuals to fund a table or tables for a minimal cost ranging from $250-$300 each. By funding a table, the individual or company’s logo, slogan or message will be routered onto a table and viewed for years to come. Returning sponsors and 2007 Corporate Night attendees will have first chance to help support the festival until June 15th, after which this opportunity will be provided to the general public.
The funding of the picnic tables is completely separate from being a participant and buying a table for Gemuetlichkeit (Corporate Night). Sales for that evening will begin within the next month with 2007 and prior year participants receiving information first.