Oktoberfest raises funds, celebrates 500 years of beer

All the money raised at the New Castle event goes to the Eintracht Singing Society

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WYTV) – Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival. And in New Castle, they do everything they can to make the German heritage come alive.

But it’s not just about the food, fun and — who could forget — the beer. It’s about preservation and a lineage of tradition.

“Oktoberfest originally started about 500 years ago,” said John McCormick, president of the Eintracht Singing Society. “Our Oktoberfest started about three years ago and it is a celebration of our German ancestry.”

All of the money raised on Saturday goes to this very special group.

“We preserve our German culture — our heritage — with this money and our clubhouse,” McCormick said.

“[The clubhouse] has been around since 1894 and it’s one of the oldest organizations around,” said Hans Krause, a member of the Eintracht Singing Society. “So we really just want to keep it going.”

Their humble beginnings in New Castle started over 120 years ago, singing a wide variety of songs including English folk, pop and the sacred anthems in their blended harmonies and unique vocal style.

“The Eintracht singing society — The Maennerchor of the singers — has been around for so long,” Krause said. “And they’ve done such a good job, not just in the organization, but throughout the community.”

But who could forget the other reason this tradition is such a beloved staple of the German culture.

“We have the beer here, which is the most important part,” Krause said. “The food, the entertainment — we have it all.”

Members from the Eintracht Singing Society were also celebrating a huge anniversary, as stated earlier.

This festival marked 500 years since the passing of the German beer purity law, which paved the way for beer to only be made from natural ingredients.