The Whitehead Memorial Museum will celebrate its 25th annual Oktoberfest on Saturday with bratwursts, beer and other Bavarian traditions.
The yearly German festival, which traditionally celebrates the fall harvest, helps raise funding for the museum’s general fund, Whitehead Museum Director Michael Diaz said. Last year, about 270 people attended the event, which raised $5,000 for the museum, Diaz said.
Museum organizers will celebrate the quarter-centennial event by giving away two special raffle grand prizes: two nights at the Tiki Condominiums on South Padre Island, and four-hours of museum ground rental, said Diaz. The raffle will also include 25 additional items, he said.
“It’s something different to help raise money for the museum,” Diaz said. “It’s not too common on the border.”
Many cities in Texas observe the tradition due to the state’s strong German immigrant population, Diaz said. Although Oktoberfest gatherings are common in cities like New Braunfels, Austin and Fredericksburg, Diaz said the German celebrations are found less in border communities.
Employees and volunteers will prepare and serve traditional German recipes, which were handed down from previous museum staff, including bratwurst, spaetzli and sauerkraut, Diaz said.
The museum will also welcome back the New Braunfels-based Seven Dutchmen Orchestra, Diaz said.
In the past year, the museum opened a Del Rio Fire Department exhibit, which includes a 1919 American La France fire engine and other artifacts and memorabilia. And a city hall exhibit, which includes portraits of Del Rio’s 25 mayors, an 1898 map of Val Verde County from the Texas General Land Office and a timeline of the area’s development and the individuals who made the city what it is today.
The museum also recently opened a school house exhibit, which features community-donated artifacts from Del Rio High School and San Felipe High School before the consolidation, and a hall of fame, which highlights some of Del Rio’s most esteemed residents, including musician Radney Foster and former NFL player Sid Blanks.