Republican women oom-pah their way to Oktoberfest | NevadaAppeal.com

Republican women oom-pah their way to Oktoberfest

Teya Vitu

Republican women claimed Oktoberfest for themselves Sunday at the Carson City Community Center.

They served grilled sausage, sauerkraut and pretzels under the guise of the major annual fund-raiser for the Carson City Republican Women’s Club.

It was the first time for a Republican women’s Oktoberfest and nobody was complaining.

“I like the music. I like the Republican fellowship,” said Kate Reich, a club member as well as president of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Auxiliary.

Reich, beer in hand, didn’t deny she also enjoyed the beverage that Oktoberfest is all about: “I have to say that, too.”

Bill Glenn, a veteran of two Oktoberfests in Munich, said this scaled down Carson City version naturally didn’t compare. That didn’t stop him from savoring some dark beer and working on the committee to crispen the pretzels on behalf of his wife, club member Helen Glenn.

“I’m hoping to enjoy a meal and the music, especially the oom-pah,” said Glenn, wearing loden green Alpenhut, a hat he picked up in 1975 in Heidelberg, Germany.

Members of the local band Reminisce also picked through the closet to find Germanic celebratory attire. The four-person band prides itself on a wide repertory that they present twice a month at the Carson Nugget and every Thursday night at the Carson Lanes.

“We’re going to do lots and lots of polkas and oom-pah-pah,” said Reba Tawlks on the keyboards.

Tawlks was joined by Wanette Knott on electric bass, polka expert Dan Riskey on sax, drummer George Gold substituting for Reminisce regular Tony Ruggiero and trumpeter Wayne Theriault added to the band for this outing.

Rosemary Smith, a club past president in 1996-97, looked at the Oktoberfest as a chance for the Republican women to give back to the community.

“We give a little fun, a little beer and German potato salad. That’s what I made,” Smith said.

Club members made three varieties of German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage and German apple salad. Large pretzels were also there to be eaten and grillmeister Ed Ison blackened the smoked bratwurst, smoked Polish sausage and knockwurst from the Sausage Factory in Carson City.

“The first thing I learned was don’t burn them like I did the first batch,” Ison said.

The Republican women (and a guest man) also spread the Republican message.

“Our goal is to get as many Republicans elected to office as we can,” club President Nancy Dallas said. “We intend to have a majority in the Assembly and hold on to our majority in the Senate.”

Mary Burgoon, an immediate club past president, shared the club’s secret strategy to achieve that.

“How about register, register, register?” Burgoon said. “We need to go out and register more people.”

Democrats in the past week gained a slim 122-voter edge over the Republicans in Nevada.

Chuck Muth, chairman of the Nevada Republican Liberty Caucus, offered what could be seen as a bitter pill to swallow to regain a Republican majority in Congress or the Nevada Legislature: welcome some Democrats to the cause.

“We need Democrats who vote with us 70 percent, 60 percent, even 50 percent of the time,” Muth said. “We need addition, not subtraction. We are so interested about making arguments among ourselves that we forget our opponent is the Democrats. Come next September, we need to do what’s good for the party.”

Otherwise, Oktoberfest was the jovial event that organizers Jodi Costa and Diann Gardner wanted.

“Oktoberfest is a time for dancing and fun,” Costa said. “It’s a casual affair. We wanted to have a situation to have legislators and residents one-on-one.”