If you had planned to celebrate Oktoberfest in Oaks Park this year at full throttle, after last year’s pandemic failure, it would be best to store your lederhosen again.
The amusement park announced this week that it will have to pull out the polka music and beer chug that was scheduled for September 24-26 as COVID-19 cases in Oregon continue to rise.
“We made the decision to cancel the 2021 event with a heavy heart,” said the Oaks Park Association in a press release, “but we consider this to be the responsible cause.”
The organization also cited concerns about the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the health of festival guests, vendors and artists.
As an Oktoberfest visitor everywhere knows, the core activities for a pandemic that is spread via breath droplets are particularly risky. Oaks Park reiterated this message in its publication: Singing, dancing and drinking and eating in the festival hall for long periods of time – hence no wearing of masks – would make it difficult to consistently monitor the COVID security protocol.
Unlike last year, when drive-through entertainment continued to be a more cautious way of hosting events, Oaks Park won’t host an Oktoberfest To-Go. The association fears that a weakened celebration in 2021 could hurt the overall brand of the celebration.
But in those weird and somewhat confusing times when one beer festival is canceled, another one seems to pop up in its place almost immediately.
The Oregon Brewers Guild says it will hold its Portland Fresh Hops Festival in October, and it will be among the first of its kind to require proof of full vaccination for entry.
“The fresh hop season is an industry favorite and the location in the Pacific Northwest gives our members the added benefit of brewing with hops that are harvested and delivered the same day,” wrote Christina LaRue, the guild’s managing director, in a press release. “The Portland Fresh Hops Festival is a highly anticipated annual event that highlights these beers and we wanted to find a surefire way to bring it back this year.”
The guild continues to take additional precautions. The two-day event will take place in a new outdoor location – from Oaks Park to Glendoveer Golf Course and its driving range. In addition, the entrance will be divided into three separate four-hour periods so that the organizers can limit the number of participants per session.
For hygienic reasons, you can expect that watering will be offered in compostable disposable cups and that the event crew will thoroughly clean the surfaces between drinking sessions.
“Hosting an in-person event carries risks and we are taking additional measures to protect our team, brewers, volunteers and attendees,” said LaRue. “We know some people will be disappointed, but we hope to see all of them again at the event in 2022.”
The Portland Fresh Hops Festival is scheduled for October 1st and 2nd. The Von Ebert Brewing next to the golf course provides catering. The guild plans to continue to monitor the current public health situation as well as any new government mandates to make any necessary adjustments.
Related: New Westside Beer Fest organizers are canceling the event due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases