A South Shore Oktoberfest Odyssey

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

Dance is your body affirming what your heart knows is true and worth expressing.

With that said, most of my recent dancing has been casual and uncoordinated, at DJ Mommy’s equinoctial Lunenburg Legion raves. I never considered pursuing lessons until chance led me to an opportunity to participate in South Shore Oktoberfest.

Carmen Cumming, Barnacle Design Editor, asked if I would take the place of her and her partner Sam in a polka dance demonstration they could no longer attend. With one day’s notice for the first rehearsal, I said, “Yes.”

Heidrun Lind of LinDance led a fantastic evening welcoming dancers of all experience levels. I was paired with another dancer upon arrival and started picking up the steps and twists of polka – great fun.

Then, my polka career ended as abruptly as it started. My partner couldn’t make the next rehearsal.

On October 8, I walked downtown to see the entertainment on the Lunenburg Waterfront. The dancers moved skillfully for visitors and locals to the soundtrack of the Bridgewater Fire Department German Band’s oompah music, and even brought in joyful strangers to learn some moves.

(Photo: Jesse Ward)

Only about twenty visitors attended the festivities’ start. Anticipation of post-tropical storm Philippe postponed the day’s scheduled craft beer festival and kept away many.

But I had intended to dance and sample craft beers for this culture and food column, and I would commit to my journey through any obstacles, like Hesse’s Siddhartha. I walked to Lightship Brewery to enjoy a solo beer, like Hesse’s Steppenwolf.

Biff’s Pilsner – 5.2% ABV
By Saltbox Brewing Company, Mahone Bay

Towards Lightship Brewery, home to fond memories of Trivia With Michelle, my mind leapt: Michelle — Shel — Shel Silverstein — Where The Sidewalk Ends — Tannery Road, where the sidewalk literally ends, dangerously, between New Town and Lightship.

I spent most of September in South Holland for work. I was eager to return to reporting on municipal politics, including the status of the scheduled Tannery Road sidewalk.

But first, Lightship. Wind rippled waves through my Biff’s Pilsner as it did the Atlantic.

(Video: Jesse Ward)

I could see activity on the waterfront picking up from Lightship’s oceanfront patio, featuring the best possible views of Lunenburg. The pilsner was refreshing, clear and eminently drinkable.

Knot Pub Ale – 5% ABV
By Propeller Brewing Company, Halifax

The Knot’s house ale is 70% porter, 30% common pilsener, and only found in the greatest pub on Earth. This delicious beer is dark and robust with the porter’s dominant richness playing with a slightly floral pilsener, matching the warm and deep atmosphere of the pub’s wood panelling.

Shipwright Festbier – 6.2% ABV
By Shipwright Brewing Company, Lunenburg

This festbier, specially crafted for South Shore Oktoberfest, was a treat to discover at the saloon-style Shipwright storefront on Lincoln Street. The beer features a full flavour profile yet was as crisp as the pre-hurricane breeze outside.

Later that evening, a Friendsgiving dinner at Barnacle Editor-at-large Issie Patterson’s home was the perfect end to my Oktoberfest odyssey, tying the entire day together.

When you don’t have a dance partner and the craft beer festival is cancelled – if you’ve got good company, any dinner is a volksfest.

Conversation finds momentum, laughter finds catharsis, and a shared meal binds culture to memory. 

Highlights included Carley’s risotto, Sal’s pumpkin spice donuts, and Andrew and Chris’ squash soup. The cashew ball turkey I presented, with candy eyes and a candy corn beak, attracted mild amusement.

(Photo: Jesse Ward)


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