President’s Point – September 2019
Everyone at Elder Care Services is now consumed with counting down the days until our 21st Oktoberfest! It takes place on Friday evening October 18 and we are all working hard to make it the very best celebration we have ever had.
It’s hard to believe that in less than three months it will be my eighth and final time hosting this wonderful cultural tradition — which, by the way, has taken on a life of its own. It generates a buzz throughout the Big Bend and is one of the largest fund-raising events in the region. In fact, our highest attendance has been 1,100. Let’s break that record this year!
For those of you who may not know, Oktoberfest was originally called “Celebrating Seniors.” It began in 1999 with the support of Infinity Software Development, Inc. Under their guidance and sponsorship for the next four years it was held at Dorothy Oven Park. According to Infinity’s Senior Vice President, Chapin Frazee, “We were glad to have been a small part of what has become a signature event in the community and an important source of support for such a great organization as Elder Care Services”.
Two years later, in 2001, we adopted the Oktoberfest theme and added German cuisine, beer, music, and a root beer garden. By 2003 the event had grown too large for Dorothy Oven Park and was moved to Goodwood Museum and Gardens in the fall of 2004 where it remained for nine years.
I first hosted Oktoberfest in the fall of 2012. With about 700 attendees, we knew we needed to seek a larger venue. In October of 2013, we kicked off our 15th and two subsequent Oktoberfests at Mission San Luis, setting our all-time attendance record in 2014.
In the fall of 2014 work had begun on transforming the 35-year old Tallahassee Mall, renaming it the Centre of Tallahassee. Refitting its former hallways to resemble the roads and paths of a town square in a traditional Swiss or Austrian burg that included cobbled walkways for slow moving cars and pedestrian foot traffic, It appeared to be an ideal location for our 18th Oktoberfest.
We were the first nonprofit to host a fund-raising event at the Centre in the fall of 2016 and this year will be our fourth.
“Lucky 21,” as we affectionately call this year’s event, could shatter all previous records and put us on a clearer path to eliminating the waitlists full of hundreds of clients who need meals and in-home services. Please join us at Tallahassee’s most enjoyable party! I hope to see you there!!
Mark D. Baldino
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