What happened to Oktoberfest? With 3.6 inches of rain on Monday before the event, plus 80 percent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, gave a dim outlook for safe park conditions and a pleasant event experience; thus the 12th annual Fountain Hills Oktoberfest was cancelled.

It was an extremely tough decision considering the disappointment of many, including our guests who planned for the event, the band here from Germany, the various suppliers who special ordered 100 kegs of beer from Germany, the 3,000 special order brats, the 1,000 pretzels, logistics and security staff and more. Sadly, the over 100 volunteers from local service organizations including Rotary, Elks, Sister Cities and Kiwanis would miss out on the opportunity to raise funds for their charities.

The three-month planning efforts were wiped out and a reversal process was quickly implemented. We live in an amazing community; after the cancellation announcement Euro Pizza and Fireside Grill offered the band to play at their establishments. Our ambassadors, Jay and Kip Schlum, were on top and successfully shared the change in plans. Euro Pizza put up a tent, chairs and fencing and Mayor Dickey was able to open the mini Oktoberfest as planned on Friday night at Euro Pizza. It was the only Oktoberfest celebration where pizza and apple strudel were the top food choices.

The record crowd enjoyed the competitions and winners happily received the prizes handed out by master of ceremonies, Marta Ludwig. A repeat performance happened on Saturday at the Fireside Grill. The Kiwanis group sold raffle tickets and the lucky winner had flown in from Germany just for this event. A fraction of the incurred expenses (band and advertising) are covered by sponsorships and raffle sales. A big thank you to all who participated and supported Fountain Hills Oktoberfest!