TATAMAGOUCHE - A party atmosphere spilled onto the streets here Friday afternoon in a wave of vibrant fall colours.
As hours counted down to the official kickoff of one of the largest cultural celebrations in Atlantic Canada held at the North Shore Recreation Centre, the sound of German music rang through the village.
Women dressed in dirndls on Main Street danced with passersby, welcoming them to the 33rd annual Oktoberfest, hosted by the North Shore Bavarian Society.
"It's just for fun," said Bonnie Church, pausing during a twirling polka step to set a giant pretzel and stein aside and welcome a new dance partner on the sidewalk outside the Chowder House.
Church, Jennifer Roberts and her family members, along with other staff at the restaurant spent more than a week setting up the Oktoberfest-themed display.
About a dozen, life-size, handmade puppets were used to create the festive scene, which included a band 'the Musician Mustaches,' security, chef grilling sausages, a beer keg deliveryman and several other creations that put smiles on spectator's faces.
Restaurant owner Marjorie Sorensen said this is the 24th year her business has entered a decorating contest hosted by the society during the Bavarian-themed celebration.
This year there were more than a dozen displays throughout the village.
"We do it because the tourists are here and everybody in the village looks forward to it," said Sorenson. She said in the beginning she claimed the top prize three years in a row, as well as numerous other times.
A few blocks down the street at the North Shore Business Centre, staff at Quality Cuts and Open Doors: Career Resource Centre combined efforts creating an ‘Oktoberfest by the Sea' display complete with fishing gear, whales, mermaids and festive sailors in a rubber dingy.
"There is definitely a friendly competition between businesses in the village," said Mindy MacDonald, of Quality Cuts. "But we do it to be festive and get into the spirit of things, putting on a good show in the village."
She said this year was the biggest display they had assembled and it took a year of planning and a month of final preparation to pull it together.
MacDonald said the partnering businesses claimed top prize during the past two years.
"We do it for our fans," she said with a laugh. "You get a lot of positive feedback from customers coming into the shop."
This year's prize winners are the Chowder House, first place; Willow Lodge Home for Special Care, second and Bonnyman's Teahouse House, third.