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Oktoberfest offered alternative to Halloween

Dave Cooper, left, dances the “Chicken Polka” with his son Michael at Kings West School Thursday Oct. 31. Michael, a Kings West second grader, wanted to dress up for this dance with his father and had their outfits ready for days before the event. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Dave Cooper, left, dances the “Chicken Polka” with his son Michael at Kings West School Thursday Oct. 31. Michael, a Kings West second grader, wanted to dress up for this dance with his father and had their outfits ready for days before the event.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

With a chicken toboggan on top of his noggin, Michael Cooper, a King’s West School second-grader, celebrated the season with the rest of his class.

Clad with jumbo plastic chicken feet and a yellow-feathered mask, Dave Cooper mirrors his son’s snaps, flaps and wiggles.

King’s West second- and third-graders spent Halloween afternoon wrapped in another well-known festival — Oktoberfest.

The elder Cooper has been to the school’s German-based fest for several years with one or more of his four children participating.

“It lets them know there are other events that we do,” Cooper said of the presentation held 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the gymnasium.

“And it puts a smile on my son’s face,” Cooper said.

The Vogeltanz (known also as the chicken dance) was the swan song of sorts to the Oktoberfest celebration where students danced, recited stories and gave a brief lesson in German culture.

Rebecca Morse, elementary principal for King’s West, said the event aims at exposing the children to other cultures. But it isn’t meant to overshadow Halloween.

“It’s a tradition we do every year just for fun,” Morse said as the program got started.

Students Geena Hernandez and Alekzander Morrison greeted the parents who filled the gym bleachers. The second grade class performed the Star Dance, the Kinderpolka, Pattycake Polka and The Crested Hen. Skirts swooshed, feet stomped as the band (via tape recording) played on. The girls curtsied the boys bowed at the end of each song.

Kati Ball watches in the stands as her daughter Dezeray dances auf Deutsch.

“It’s great. We’ve come every year,” Ball said.

“It’s nice to come and see the kids doing things,” she said.

Then students performed “The Three Bears in Germany.” The tale, sprinkled with German, had grandfather bear, mother bear and baby bear taking a Volksmarch into the Schwartzwald. A curious golden-locked young lady can’t resist the strudel and trying the bear family’s chairs.

“It was actually pretty easy,” said third- grader Julia Irvin about learning German for her role as Goldilocks.

She said the best part about the program was that she got to share the stage with her best friends.

“She’s a ham,” said mom Joy Irvin of Port Orchard.

“She gravitates to the dramatic parts,” Joy said as her daughter pointed out she also played Peter Rabbit in the first grade.

“I had a good time watching her be herself,” Joy said.

Joy called the Oktoberfest a “creative idea.”

“It’s neat to take the focus off of Halloween.”

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