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Endless Summer: The Valley Rally – Our Modest Proposal

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Liters of beer and leather shorts–Oktoberfest favorites. Credit: Katy Spichal; Munich, Germany website

First of all, Oktoberfest doesn’t actually take place in October. By the time this Messenger reaches the Rogue Valley, it will be the 184th version’s final weekend in Munich. Second, Oktoberfest has no connection to the Autumnal Equinox, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, Michaelmas, or the fall harvest. Rather, Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810 and invited the locals to join the festivities on the fields outside of Munich. It was a party then, and it still is; but not particularly meaningful here unless your roots run deep in Saxony-Hildburghausen.

The Drink Local Research Department had begun to lament not doing its job thoroughly prior to proposing articles when inspiration struck. We have traveled the Rogue Valley in search of delightful beverages and welcoming places to consume them. We have found plenty of both, not to mention hard working, gracious, and neighborly people in charge of the producing and sharing. We have learned that Southern Oregonians view themselves as distinct from the rest of the state, not unlike Bavarians, the southernmost residents of Germany and creators of Oktoberfest, in relation to the rest of Germany.

Time to create our own, original big party for its own sake, The Valley Rally. Oktoberfest may now be an international institution, but someone had to start it, right? (See aforementioned.)

Here’s the proposed plan: run The Valley Rally from the last Friday of September to the first Sunday of October, 10 days; a chance to celebrate the end of summer while the season’s warmth lingers (the reason, by the way, that Oktoberfest now takes place in September).

Next: Each Oktoberfest beer tent has a traditional theme and only serves beer brewed in Munich. Let’s have 10 tents for The Valley Rally, one from each of the Valley’s main towns and cities: Grants Pass, Rogue River, Gold Hill, Central Point, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, and Medford, all serving beer and wine made only in the Rogue Valley. Coordinate on the food, or go potluck—the abundant farms and orchards will certainly inspire the menus.

Until next year’s Valley Rally, check out Jacksonville’s mini-Oktoberfest this weekend. After all, who wouldn’t pass up the chance to carouse in your dirndl or lederhosen?

Anyone want to spearhead this?


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