The German American Social Club of Cape Coral has selected its next Ms. Oktoberfest.
Cheyenne Schwind, 24, will represent the club as the “face” of Oktoberfest 2018, set for two weekends, Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28, at the German American Social Club.
First runner up was Savannah Liebegott; second runner up was Tanja Lambertus.
As Ms. Oktoberfest 2018, Schwind has inherited a wide array of responsibilities. She will appear in the club’s commercials and TV/print advertising for the Oktoberfest and will take part all aspects of the two-week-long event as well. She is expected to learn the cultural dancing styles of Germany, as well as some of the language as she will be addressing the public in both English and German.
“This is outside of my comfort zone but I wanted to do it because it’s an honor to represent my community and gives me a chance to learn about my heritage,” Schwind said.
She already has more historical knowledge than most – she’s been attending the Cape Coral Oktoberfest with her Oma and Opa since she was a child and she’s had an up-close look at what serving as Ms. Oktoberfest entails.
“They worked all the time for the family business, Geier’s Sausage Kitchen, but they always made sure to take us grandkids there every year,” she said of her grandparents. “Also, my sister was Ms. Oktoberfest 2015 and I saw how welcoming the club was and how there was a family atmosphere and how great it is to be more involved in our heritage.”
Sister Nakita Egloff said she will be by her sister’s side to mentor her through the process but Schwind also will have a wealth of GASC community members assisting her with the roles and responsibilities.
The honorary pageant sash was presented to Schmidt by Ms. Oktoberfest 2017, Christine Kellermann, and Teresa Kohl, Oktoberfest organizer.
In passing the crown, Kellerman said she is “very excited to begin volunteering and pouring beers with the GASC instead of just sitting down and looking pretty – although it’s been fun.”
However, once Ms. Oktoberfest, always Ms. Oktoberfest. Pageant winners dating back to the 1990s were present at the pageant and attend Oktoberfest every year.
Schwind decided to move back home to pursue her degree in nursing while her husband served at the Marines base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. While attending nursing school, Schwind stayed close to her German family and heritage by working for the family business, Geier’s Sausage Kitchen in Sarasota, an old world German-style meat market and deli.
She graduated in May, recently passed the test to become a registered nurse, and is applying to local hospitals in the Southwest Florida area. Schwind continues to pursue her education to become a nurse practitioner and is taking classes to learn German.
She and her husband Zachary enjoy boating, biking and camping.
The pageant, held Saturday at the German American, Club had one somber moment.
Juergen Schmidt, chairman of Oktoberfest 2018, paused the ceremony and, with tears in his eyes, asked the crowd to rise for a brief moment of silence to give thoughts and prayers for 29-year-old Adam Jobbers-Miller, a Fort Myers Police officer who was shot in the line of duty just moments before the pageant commenced.
Schmidt, who was a police officer back in Germany and a former firefighter in Cape Coral, said that the police play an integral role in their community by keeping the public safe during Oktoberfest.
The Cape Coral Oktoberfest is the largest party of the year in the Cape.
This year, 28 musicians are set to fly in from Germany to provide live, authentic entertainment. Live music will be featured on several stages for dancing – with or without the chicken hat.
Freshly poured domestic and German beer is also a big draw to the event that is the largest of its kind in the state.
“The Oktoberfest will go on until all the beer runs out,” joked Tom Rosiano of Zaks Jewelers, who has sponsored the event for 30-plus years.
For those looking for some authentic fare, there will also be lots of German food, including bratwurst, schniztel and currywurst from The Doener, German Streetfood Restaurant of Cape Coral.
“We are cooking up a very cool surprise for Oktoberfest,” manager Jenny Haenschen said.
The German American Social Club of Cape Coral was founded as a non-political organization in July 1964 with a charter membership of 34. The purpose of the club, then and now, is to promote good fellowship with a variety of social activities, to perpetuate traditional German festivals such as Oktoberfest, Karneval, costume balls, folk dances and more to stimulate interest in the German language and customs.
“You don’t have to be German to be a part of this club,” says GASC President Robert Kraft.
Although many members have a heritage which leads back to the Western European region of Germany, Bavaria and Austria, many people attend who are from Italian, Argentinian, Irish descent and more.
If you want to learn German, the GASC has you covered. They have a library of thousands of books written in German, open for anybody who wants to read at any given time during open hours, which is every Friday from 5 -11 p.m.
However, if you’re looking to learn only a few key phrases to flex your German language muscle, or enjoy Ger-man cuisine at a low price, just come to Oktoberfest and greet those you meet with “Habe’ Die Ehre” which translates literally to “Have the honor” and can be used as a “hello” or “goodbye” in German.
Schmidt said you are sure to get a pleasant reaction if you say this phrase to anybody from Germany.
The German American Social Club is at 2101 S.W. Pine Island Road, Cape Coral. Oktoberfest hours will be from 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays over the course of the two celebratory weekends.