HELEN, GEORGIA – Pennie Tour visited the North Georgia town of Helen to partake in Oktoberfest 2010. Not sure what we liked better – the Ompah music or the Bavarian beer! Since 1970, Georgia’s tranquil little town of Helen transforms into the ultimate North Georgia party town! Helen’s Oktoberfest offers Bavarian food, chicken dancing, Polka dancers in native costume, and German beer.
Helen became a tourist attraction after the town changed its appearance to make the store fronts look like a Bavarian Alps village. Helen copied Munich, Germany and started celebrating Oktoberfest to draw in even more tourists. Nestled along the Chattahoochee River, Helen receives many tourists in the summer months that take advantage of the river tubing, hiking and other outdoor activities offered. When fall arrives, even more people invade this Bavarian town to view the changing leaves and to involve themselves in Oktoberfest!
Helen’s Oktoberfest begins on the second Thursday of September and runs through the first Sunday of November. A parade on the first Saturday of the festival kicks off the celebration. Pennie Tour took in the Bavarian influence of the partygoers and even experienced Helen’s famous dancing man who is a staple of Oktoberfest at Café International.
Although the entire town participates in the Oktoberfest, Oompah-central is the Festhalle, where the bands play throughout the day. Can hang out in the Festhalle all day – you can purchase your cold beer (Leinenkugel is made in Milwaukee) and hot off the grill German-style wursts (sausages), listen to the band and dance! The most popular dance in Helen during Oktoberfest is the Chicken Dance. The “Chicken Dance” is a Swiss oompah song from the 1950s that has become a traditional dance of Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest lasts into the wee hours of the night. This year’s newest attraction was King Ludwig’s Bier Garden, which opened in September, where there was dancing and even more German beer! Festival attendees are not allowed to walk through the town of Helen with alcoholic drinks (to the dismay of many), so the Bier Garden proved to be the choice of many because of its open-air venue, music and outside dance floor.
Visit Helen, Georgia the next time you are in the mood for bratwurst, or even Weiner schnitzel. A visit during Oktoberfest will make you feel as if you were in Munich! Hotels fill up fast – so it is important to book a hotel early. DANKE SCHÖN!
The Pennie Tour visited Helen, Georgia for Oktoberfest on October 9. We had a great time talking with everyone, drinking “german” beer and doing the chicken dance. The Pennie Tour Oktoberfest episode will be released soon!
STONE MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA – The Pennie Tour’s latest episode is now available online. In this latest episode, The Pennie Tour visited the Miller Lite Atlanta Chili Cook-Off. Stone Mountain, Georgia hosted this year’s 31st annual Great Miller Lite Chili Cook-Off on September 25, 2010. The inaugural event started in 1979 as a way to bring people together to enjoy the South’s best chili recipes. This fun event has grown and has something for everyone – great music, food and games for the whole family! This year’s event drew over 300 teams competing and over 14,000 attendees enjoying chili! 100% of all proceeds help support Camp Twin Lakes.
Featured bands included Jumping Jack Flash, The Alabama Blues Brothers, Slow Hand and Iron Mullet. Awards were given to Best Chili, Best Brunswick Stew, Best Corn Bread, People’s Choice, and Best Showmanship. Please check out the web for the Atlanta Chili CookOff for a full list of winners.
Pirates, Chili, and Beer – Oh My! Lots of well constructed sets and role-playing by the competitors. We were told that those competing usually arrive the day before the event. Some camp out, build their creative sets, start their recipes early and enjoy themselves during the Saturday event. Some competitors even start their planning processes a whole year in advance!
This year’s host was radio personality Southside Steve, who is part of the popular radio show The Regular Guys on Atlanta’s Rock Station, Rock 100.5. Sensitive Southside Steve was more than happy to share with Pennie Tour his favorite ingredients for chili and his softer side to entice the ladies. Yeah, C’mon!
Pennie Tour looks forward to next year’s newest chili recipes at the 2011 Great Miller Lite Chili Cook-Off!