It may have been the last day of the Moriches Rotary Club’s annual Oktoberfest, but the Bavarian beer was still flowing, the bratwurst grilled until glistening and the twangy notes of an Austrian-style band’s accordion still echoing throughout the tent erected at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck.
The fourth-annual festival, which benefits the special needs camp where the event took place in Center Moriches, lasted one extra day this year because it fell on a Jewish holiday and the local schools were out.
Monday was a slow day, with about 100 people trickling in throughout the day, but the weekend attracted a few thousand, said Peter Traina, the Rotary’s chairman for the event.
“I’ve been to the real Oktoberfest in Munich,” he said. “I thought it would be a good thing to bring here.”
And it was, he said, noting the event’s continued success. Each year it brings inasmuch as $25,000 for the camp.
“There’s a little bit of everything,” he said.
On Monday, parents brought children for a go on the carnival rides and games, and sat at long picnic-style benches in the beer tent dining on German-style food.
Nancy Kretsch, of Shirley, was thankful for the extra day of this year’s festival, which landed on the day she baby-sits her granddaughters. She said they were with their father at the Kaler’s Pond Playground, which is adjacent to the camp, the day before and begged their grandmother to take them on Monday.
“We went on lots of rides and had lots of fun,” she said, as her 7-year-old granddaughter Candice carefully protected the goldfish she had won at a carnival game.
Karen Lee, of East Moriches, brought two of her three children — Aaron, 7 months; and Mikailing, 5 — in lieu of their normal afternoon activities.
“We walked here,” she said. “It’s right around the corner from us.”
But the beer was still the main attraction for some. Leo Tolson, 35; Jamie Kurz, 32; and Briana Caputo, 23; all of Center Moriches, said every year past they’ve attended multiple days of Oktoberfest, but this year could only make it on Monday.
“We come for the beer,” said Tolson, who was sipping an Oktoberfest from Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery. “And we come every time.”
Caputo said they were also happy to support Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, which this summer hosted more than 300 mentally or physically challenged children.
“We like to do anything we can do to support them,” she said. “We know that this is really for the kids.”
Above: Jane Miller, a member of the Moriches Paquatuck Squaws, a group of women that raises funds for Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, pours beer at the Moriches Rotary Club's Oktoberfest. (Sept. 17, 2012)