September 27, 2015

This is a big week for the school community--our 13th annual Oktoberfest is this Saturday, October 3. 

What started on a chilly night in 2003 with one tent in the parking lot and several hundred hardy souls has grown and morphed into a something-for-everyone three-event extravaganza.

I had the privilege of being in the thick of the Oktoberfest excitement for the last eleven years, but this year, I “retired” from being involved in the day-to-day planning.  Being a step removed has given me a new perspective of the whole really is an incredible undertaking.  I take great joy and pride in watching it all come together.

After months of prep work, the fun really starts tomorrow morning when the committee moves in.  They create a command center in the Commons and bring in all of the necessities: computers, office supplies, printers, food and plenty of diet Coke and Starbucks.  NASA would be impressed.  Then they unload the stockpile of  decorations and equipment that is stored in the basement, and we are off and running. 

Each day has its own plan and vibe.   If it’s Wednesday, I know I’ll find a happy group of ladies frou-frouing the program books with ribbons and beads.  They always politely (and wisely) decline my feeble attempts to help.  If it’s Thursday, the race packets are being assembled, and last minute auction items are being cataloged and arranged.

As the week moves on, this becomes a day-and-night job.   Folks who have worked all day (either on Oktoberfest or their “real” jobs) start working through the evening. The decorating begins...first in the halls, then the Commons and then the gym.  This is way more than a few streamers and balloons.  This is transformative.

I marvel at the committee’s commitment level.  They do all of this work, and they do it so happily.  The volunteer work gets done on top of all that consumes their regular life--jobs, houses, bills, laundry and of course the demands of at least one (in some cases many) school-aged children.  The kids are a part of the set-up  effort, but most importantly they get the great witness of seeing their parents volunteer.  A few decades from now, those kids will be the volunteers.  Such a beautiful legacy! 

Come Friday, the events roll in in quick succession.  We start with the Oktoberfeast for the school kids.  Burgers and fries for everyone courtesy of Burger King!

Then comes the Oktoberfast 5K run/walk on Saturday morning.  It’s so much fun seeing 300+ people head out through the neighborhood. 

And finally, come 6:00 p.m. Saturday night, the doors will open on one heckuva party.  There’s food and acoustic music in the gym, a beer garden and live music in the Cloister, and an amazing array of raffle and silent auction items in the Commons.  And people.  Lots of people. People you know and people you should know.  So come.

The year-round support from the parish to the school is tremendous and heartwarming.  I know many of you know what it’s like to sacrifice to put your kids through Catholic education.  Your support of this Oktoberfest will make things easier for the current school families.

If you can’t make it, consider buying raffle tickets today after all Masses.  You can even participate in the silent auction from the comfort of your own couch.  Go to after 6:00 p.m. on Saturday to shop and bid on a  tremendous array of items. Email for a user ID.  (It’s easier than it sounds—really!)

Each year after the party is over and the first round of clean-up is done, the committee raids the fridges for a midnight (closer to 2:00 a.m.) snack and a final toast.  This year, I’ll be home snoozing like any respectable retiree, but if I were there, my toast would be to the committee for their hard work and their good works.  They  make an incredibly valuable difference to St. Raymond School. And they do it with grace, good humor and joy.  We are grateful.  Prost!

Hope to see you Saturday night!  See the enclosed flier for all of the details.

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez

*Working title of this column, formerly the Progress Report..  It, like most things in life, is a work in progress.  Feedback welcome! 




Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!