The Odessa Record -

Deutschesfest forum gives food for thought


The January 29 community forum on the future of Deutschesfest resulted in lots of feedback and ideas for improvement. The comments received were compiled last week by the author and Lise Ott. Next week, we hope to offer clarification of some of the suggestions and provide a basic framework for volunteering to take on some of these tasks.


Quality of bands has not improved – has really declined. Whiskey D & the 8 Balls cleared the Biergarten out last year.

Raise the gate $5, $10, $15 – people will pay it (Leavenworth is $20).

Beer prices are too expensive. People will not pay for higher price at door.

Start bands later in the day to save on music budget.

Streamline beverage offerings, fewer choices.

Cut back on items for sale.

Be a little picky about who you let work.

Lower sound volume in Biergarten if you want people to come. It hurts our ears.

Small fee to enter bed races.

All tips at Biergarten should go back to Biergarten.

Each non-profit pays a fee to help pay for expenses. Like if you profit over $1,000, donate $100 back to Chamber. If you make under $1,000, donate $50, for example.

Have Fest on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 1 or 2.

Town sends email regarding rental only, rental with kitchen, rental with clean-up and setup days.

Charge vendors 20% to sell food and items

Barbecue fundraiser potluck to raise donations

Have bands at biergarten with an hour between with no music.

Different weekend – conflict with Spokane Interstate Fair.

All groups pay small fee to help advertise ($25).

Cuckoo clock – every hour somebody else comes out of upstairs door.

Open only Friday and Saturday. Bands only after 5. Except Oom Pas and Mas. Fewer alcohol offerings; streamline what is sold.

Cash registers. Keep track of beer sales.

Streamline and lower prices; fewer taps.

Remember, more things going on outside = less revenue inside, less people drinking beer.

Difficult to party all weekend on $20 pitchers.

Let’s drink beer and paint our own beer mug souvenirs.

Divide responsibilities and delegate to different groups, organizations or businesses. For example, benches – Lions Club, Fire Dept. or two to three businesses? Make list of duties so needs are clear and groups can volunteer.

Eliminate trivia sold in beer garten and cut down on variety of drinks sold. Cut back on music, start at 3 or 4 p.m., with taped music until that time. Increase cover by $1.


Invite floats and or bands from other German or ethnic-based community celebrations.

Boys & girls on the float.

Take the Thursday night activities and include them into the parade on Saturday. Then only run Fest Friday – Sunday (one agree).

Or eliminate Sunday as everyone starts pulling out in a.m. (two disagreed, saying “no way, then they will start pulling out Saturday afternoon.”

Thursday is a good test run to solve problems, and we are too busy Saturday to play!

Raise entry fee a bit (one agree).

Float fundraiser in advance.

Some other schools with bands have the schools be in charge of the float and invite younger kids (4th grade-ish) to ride the float. 17 year old girls no longer have the free time to commit to the float.

Other venues

Truck and tractor pull, mud races, at own risk (Laura liked this).

History/tour of town in Old Town Hall. Maybe ghost stories. (Laura likes – she can tell stories.)

Babysitting services. Think Fred Meyer offers at their stores.

Remote-control plane and drone races.

Run Fest Friday and Saturday only, with Thursday bed race, etc. No Biergarten Thursday or Sunday (one agrees).

In Old Town Hall, “Farm Chicks” type junk show (Carmen has contact) (two agree).

Paid entertainment at school.

Quilt club could sell quilts in Old Town Hall with kpercentage going to OTH restoration (Laura).

Target groups/clubs that like to party, OHV clubs, motorcycles, etc

Have chartered bus run from Airway Heights or Moses Lake/Ephrata for a Biergarten run. No more drinking and driving.

Cheap food.

ATV trail ride through BLM property north around Pacific Lake (one agree).

Poker run with side by sides.

Change Fun Run to a “dirty dash” – mud or color fun run or obstacle course.

If it’s going to be Deutschesfest, need German sales (kid’s stuff, junk, jewelry).

Mud races

Lawnmower races

Bingo at Old Town Hall

Youth Garten at Old Town Hall (two agree and volunteer).

Kaylene in process of starting youth rec program and would be interested with this.


Explore outside food vendors who bring a crowd or following of their own.

Work with local restaurants to offer at least one German meal during the event (two agree).

More home baked booths.

Museum bake sale two days instead of one.

All food booths pay a small fee ($50?). They should help with advertising (two agree).

Food needs to be available on Sunday for people who can’t make it until then.

In the many years I’ve been in the kitchen, we have not raised prices. Raise sausage plates by $1 (Carmen).

Percentage of total sales for vendors goes back to Chamber to to offset costs, for example 10% of net sales (one agree) (one of four similar comments).

Grown in Washington. Grown in Odessa. Made in Odessa. The trend is food “experiences” so advertise the “authentic” more.

Sellers dress the part – dirndls, lederhosen. Ambiance sells! (Laura)

The food is expensive – especially if you bring several people. Need cheap snacks, ice cream, pretzels, candy.

Pfefferneusse – it’s a money maker! Never enough. (Laura)

Charge fees for use of kitchen. Go around to find out average. Make different stuff.

Street Fair

Percentage of profit goes to Chamber to offset costs

Street Fair not junk!

Encourage booths to decorate in a German theme – offer a prize. (Laura)

Think there are too many trinket booths. More homemade products and charge vendors to set up (pay for space).

More variety and share fee for spot with Chamber.

People ask for items “made in Odessa” – need more of them (two agree).

Maybe have a music accordian to liven up the area (it will conflict with speaker tunes).

Toilet tax (rest illegible).

Live music – oompa band contest.

Outdoor stage

Need a schedule posted.

Bring a big name group in.

Keep music going all day, even if it’s recorded.

Best band contest for 3-4 bands

Like the idea of kids auditioning a talent show.

Comedy act?

History lesson (fun one) on Odessa.

Pickle tasting, pie baking contest, hot dog eating contest.

Music, local bands.

Percentage of profits from all groups selling items given to Chamber to offset Chamber costs.

Invite Snohomish Sauerkraut band

Make sure we have something on Sunday.

Pickle judging.

Each booth that sells food provide an act or two to perform (Laura added “could be fun”).



Maybe RV is too pricey for the weekend. Seems to be OK now.

What do they charge?

Make RVs that park on the street and around the tracks buy a permit.

Fee is too cheap.

Make it cheap and easy to park and stay. That way funds are available for buying beer and food.

Need parking permits for motor homes anywhere. Maybe even on streets. Locals could have preferred price.

Percentage of profits to Chamber to offset costs.

Shower up at school for a cost/donation. Set a time frame, charge all RVers, not just ones that park on school field. Odessa park, streets, Odessa Union, etc.

Charge one price for weekend or by donation.

Either rent out rooms or build a motel. Or use school, etc. for beds. Fees to RVers to cover cost but cheap.

Packets to distribute to campers telling what’s happening, coupons or other enticements.

Charge for campers at Odessa Union or around park.

Create an event to draw people in overnight, i.e., car show or some sort of competition.

Motor home club.

City park free power and water.

Razer Club, Sisters on the Fly and Poker Run.


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