“So, what’s with the crazy name for your fall Oktoberfest and barbecue festival in Dothan, Alabama?” We get that question frequently, along with people calling the office to ask about participating in, “Pork… pork tober… that pork fest last weekend in September.”
PorktoberQue is September 26-27 at the Houston County Farm Center, 1701 E. Cottonwood Rd. It’s a sanctioned KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) barbecue competition with teams competing for $7,700.00 in prize money. But it’s also more than just a southern barbecue competition with great food. It’s also Dothan’s celebration of German and Eastern European culture with roots in Oktoberfest, polka music and beer.
“The name PorktoberQue combined the elements of pork, Oktober (fest) and barbeque into a fun-to say word that encompassed the flavor of the event. Honestly, we wanted it to be porktoberfest, but that name was already taken by two different events out of state. We rethought it and decided that because barbeque was such a critical component of the event, we’d use the standard slang for barbeque, ‘Que’ as the final element of the name,” stated event organizer Kerry Farrell.
“It took my father-in-law a while to learn to say it, and I think people are scared at first to pronounce it when they are reading ‘PorktoberQue’. But when you break it down phonetically, it’s pretty easy. Pork-tow-ber-Que. I personally put the emphasis on the ‘tow’ but a lot of folks put the accent on the ‘pork’. The nice thing about a made-up word is that there’s really no wrong way to say it!”
The event, now in it’s third year, features The Polka Dots (a polka band from Dothan, Alabama) as the house band in the popular Biergarten. Also playing in the Biergarten this year is authentic German accordion player, Beatrice Fulghum who is a regular musical fixture at the Panama City Beach Hofbrauhaus Biergarten and restaurant. Many people dress up in traditional German clothing called lederhosen and will polka dance as the musicians play German, Polish and Czech style songs. Again this year, admission is free if you wear lederhosen, a dirndl or other authentic German clothing such as Bundhosen or Kniebundhosen.
“Oktoberfest is actually celebrated the last weekend of September in Europe, lasting as long as two weeks, “ stated Farrell. “We chose to also do ours on the last weekend but PorktoberQue is just one weekend.”
Admission is just $3 per person at the gate, and proceeds are shared among several local organizations. The Houston County Land and Water rescue is the primary beneficiary, receiving $1 from every ticket sold to continue their search and rescue missions in the Wiregrass.
Besides polka music, contemporary bands play on a second stage and feature country, rock and classic rock. There is also a chance to purchase barbecue, and also sample BBQ in the People’s Choice competition on Saturday. A car show and sale, SEC football on TV’s in the popular “Man Cave”, shopping with vendors and a host of kids activities top off a fun-filled family weekend. For more information visit www.PorktoberQue.com or call (334) 699-1475.