Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 19, 2012

I am laughing as I look at this picture of Kathi and I at the entrance to the Tulsa Oktoberfest with the outline of a person on the ground behind us and the shadow of our photographer also visible.  A professional photographer would probably be absolutely horrified by this picture, but it captures the moment and that is what I love about it.  Kathi and I have become pros at asking people to take pictures of us together on our trips, so this shadow represents ALL those people who, over the years have been willing to take a moment to help us perserve our memories.

So, Friday morning we slept in a bit, since we had both been so tired the night before, but once we were up and moving and ready to go we left the hotel room in search of boots for Kathi, souvenirs for our loved ones, and Oktoberfest.  In our research of the area we discovered that there was a mall located fairly close to us, so that's where we headed in search of a pair of boots for Kathi.  Across from the mall was a DSW store that Kathi wanted to visit first, so we parked the car and in we went.  Oh my gosh..........boot heaven.  I think we hit the motherlode.  After trying on many pairs of boots, Kathi finally chose a pair (which fit her in an entire size smaller than she has worn in years!) and off we went to the mall.  First stop, the food court.  By this time we were starving.  We chose a place serving up hummus, pita bread, tabour and gyros.  Once we had some fuel in us, we headed for the stores. Megan has been longing for a particular sweatshirt that is only available at Zumiez and there happened to be one in this mall, so we made that our first stop and were successful in finding and purchasing the desired sweatshirt.  We also spent quite a long time in The Body Shop and came away smelling quite yummy as well as purchasing a number of "lotions and potions", as I call them, to keep our skin smooth and supple and to attempt to ward off signs of aging.  From the mall we sought out and found a nearby Jamba Juice to treat ourselves to a pumpkin smash, a frozen yogurt and pumpkin delight that completely filled our tummies up.  Next stop:  Tulsa Oktoberfest!

The Tulsa Oktoberfest is said to be one of the best in the country and is held in a park that borders the Arkansas River which runs through the middle of downtown Tulsa.  Before going to the Oktoberfest, we drove around downtown Tulsa a little bit because Kathi had been reading something that told us that Tulsa has one of the largest concentrations of art deco architecture in the United States and we wanted to check out some of the buildings. Of course, we first had to figure out just what exactly is meant by "art deco" so that we knew what the heck we were looking for!  So, as described by Wikipedia, "At its best, art deco represented elegance, glamour, functionality,and modernity." The  picture to the right is one of the buildings in downtown Tulsa which was built in the art deco style.  So lots of symmetry and attention to details.  Really quite beautiful.

One note I want to make here is about the complete lack of traffic in downtown Tulsa at 5pm.  I mean, seriously, there was hardly anyone in the downtown area, it was weird.  However they do have a street in downtown Tulsa that is named Heavy Traffic Way.  What???????

After spotting and admiring some of the art deco structures in the downtown, we crossed the river and parked to walk to the Oktoberfest celebration.  We got there somewhere between 5 and 6 pm and there really wasn't much of a crowd yet so we were able to walk around quite freely without encountering crowds of people.  Our Jamba Juice pumpkin smashes still sat heavily in our stomachs so we weren't really ready yet for beer or food, which is really what much of Oktoberfest is about, nor were we really very interested in the carnival rides set up, so we walked around amongst the 4 tents set up with stages just to get a feel for what was going on.  The 3rd tent we got to had belly dancers performing and Kathi and I stopped and watched for about an hour or so and were quite fascinated with the performances.  We both decided that belly dancing could, possibly, be in our futures!  

Once the belly dancing performance was over, we moved on to the tents that held the arts and crafts portion of the festival where we looked at jewelry, hand made soaps, clothing and other handcrafted items.  We made a few purchases in these tents then started meandering back through the music tents.  By this time the crowd had grown exponentially and we noticed that many people were drinking their beer straight out of the pitchers.  That's right, not cups, straight out of the pitchers.  Oh my gosh,  there are going to be a LOT of very drunk people at the end of the evening!!  So as we were walking through the main tent a band started playing on stage there and people started climbing up on to the tables to dance.  I had never seen such a thing at any festival I have been to in the past.

As we were moving amongst the tents and walking around the grounds of the festival we came upon the tent in which a group of people were making schnitzel and Kathi and I started watching them make it and, of course, Kathi did as Kathi does and started watching the entire process and became totally fascinated by it and started asking questions because she wants to prepare this at home.  I think we stood there and watched and talked with these people for close to an hour and, because we didn't crack any jokes about "beating meat" (which is part of the process of making schnitzel), as many of the drunk observers apparently do, we were offered free samples, and it tasted delicious.  So, even though we weren't really all that hungry, we decided that we needed a full serving of schniztel and that it was time to get ourselves some Oktoberfest beer.  We went around to the front of the schniztel tent to make our purchase, only to find out that we needed tickets to make food and beer purchases.  After finding a booth to buy tickets and having our IDs checked so that we could bracelets allowing us to purchase beer, we went back to the schniztel tent, got our delicious, freshly made schnitzel, chose a tent where we could sit and eat and buy a beer.  

The band in this particular tent was not playing German music, but, instead was a rock and roll cover band with a bit of R & B thrown in.  The emcee of the evening, after introducing the band would occasionally hop up on a table and do a bit of dancing in an effort to encourage others to do the same.  Of course, after a bit, Kathi and I did indeed, join in the fun.

We each had one beer apiece, did a bit of dancing on the table and decided that we were ready to go back to our motel room.  We parked in a parking lot that was a short walk away from the fairgrounds and required us to walk along the river on the river walk.  It was a beautiful evening and we took a nice picture of the Tulsa skyline.

Once back in the room I did a bit of journaling and internet surfing while Kathi did some work on her wedding photo album.  We somehow managed to stay up until 3:30am just putzing around before we decided to turn in for the night.

As always, we had great day and look forward to tomorrow!!!

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