Sunday, September 20, 2015

Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia

   You don’t have to be German to enjoy Oktoberfest with good German cooked food and German beer. Throw in Polka with dancers in native costume. This party town can be found in Helen, Georgia
   Helen, Georgia became known as a tourist capital shortly after changing its appearance to look like a town in the Bavarian Alps. Good-natured Pete Hodkinson, one of the four men responsible for revitalizing Helen, also created Oktoberfest, copied from the Bavarian town of Munich. 
   Although the entire town participates in the Oktoberfest, Oompah-central is the Festhalle, where the bands play throughout the day. It is here that cold beer and hot off the grill German-style wursts (sausages) are served. A parade, normally on the first Saturday of the festival, kicks off the celebration.
   Once you're sated on schnitzel, escape the crowds and visit one of the many nearby attractions. At the intersection of SR75 and SR17 there is the Nacoochee Indian Mound, a remnant of the Mound builders, an ancient Indian culture who controlled most of Georgia before 1500 AD. The Creek Indians may be descendants of this earlier tribe.
   Continue on SR17 and visit one of our favorites: The Sautee Store, another northern European outpost. Built along the Unicoi Turnpike, the store has served a number of functions during its 130+ years of existence: post office, election poll, store, and equipment dealer. Today it is operated as a store with a Norwegian accent. In front is a museum of sorts.
   Not every town has a history as interesting as Helen.
   Helen's Oktoberfest begins on the second Thursday of September and runs through the first Sunday of November.