The first Maryland Oktoberfest was held at the Baltimore Fifth Regiment Armory under the name of the ‘Maryland Oktoberfest’. It was held on October 4th and 5th, 1969. The idea for an event of this magnitude was the brainchild of Mr. Willy Steinebrunner during an early 1968 meeting of the German clubs in the Baltimore area. The meeting was held at the old Deutsches Haus. Four presidents of German Clubs accepted the challenge to promote the Oktoberfest and asked their respective clubs for sponsorship and volunteers to work the many tables and exhibits. A meeting was held and the following committee was established:
Francis W. Pramschufer (Education Profile) (Club Fidelitas) was named Chairman; Kurt P. Kuenzel (Business Profile) (German Radio Club), Paul Ludtke (Edelweiss Club), Eduard L. Thau (Business Profile) (Baltimore Kickers) were all named Assistant Chairman. A separate entity was developed and it was determined that the mission of the new group was to promote the German culture and provide financial aid to the four clubs. Edelweiss withdrew near this time and stock was given to the three remaining clubs.
The clubs were encouraged to operate concessions. During the first ten years, the group provided the three clubs with dividends of approximately $36,000.
The 10th Anniversary special edition by the Washington Journal on October 6th 1978 ended with a great expression. “May the close association of happy people extend and promote a better understanding of all people”.
Unfortunately, the Maryland Oktoberfest was
celebrated at the Fifth Regiment Armory for the last time in October 2006. The corporation was dissolved in March 2008.