On a breezy October 5th afternoon, Oktoberfest in the Lions Park in Concho, Arizona, is an experience for the senses.
Vendors hang their clothes on the metal parts of their tents; necklaces swing in the wind with their colors reflecting in the recessed autumn sun, and the Concho volunteer fire department has a table with blood pressure equipment ready to check the numbers for those who want it.
I asked a knowledgeable EMT responder, Roger Brown, ‘what’s the main cause of fires in Concho?’ “Pets hitting over candles, using water to put out an oil fire on the cooking stove, and poor electric installation in one’s home. If you don’t know what you are doing,” Brown says, “get a licensed electrician.”
In a stream of table cloths, and banners; baked goods and specialty candles hold down the table-displays keeping them from ending up on the ground.
Presiding Judge Donna J. Grimsley has a table with pamphlets about the Apache County Adult Drug Court Program. She isn’t here, but her concern is. A representative is giving out information and has a sign in-sheet for her re election. I agree with the social problem she chose to display.
Next to her table is the alcohol drinking spot of beer and wine that brings in those who want to throw back a glass or a can of the stuff. Fenced off from the rest of the Oktoberfester’s…neighbors are running into each other in the drinking pen before the frost becomes a morning mainstay; others meet for the first time in the Concho playground.
An American flag boasts pride overhead. Cold cans of Bud Light in warm hands- the holders of tin sat in the sun. Shadows of untied children’s sneakers with used rubber soles wait in the kite section for a good price as this vendor packs up early. Not enough business, she says.
Oktoberfest in Concho is not like it is in Bavaria, Germany or Munich. It is a quick get together for the locals in a community play area. It is country music from DJ Conan who did a great job of keeping the tunes coming and interjecting some traditional pop music as well. In Europe it goes on for over 2 weeks, here is over in a few hours. Hey, they keep telling me, “It’s Concho.”
A piece of Oktoberfest history from Wikipedia
Oktoberfest is the world's largest fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. To the locals, it is not called Oktoberfest, but "die Wies'n", after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) themselves. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Crown Prince Ludwig, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event.