KOA Oktoberfest to feature dachshund racing

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee KOA’s Oktoberfest celebration, planned for Oct. 19-21 will include music, fun and, best of all — dachshund racing.

The races are set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Hot dog costumes are not required for the KOA Oktoberfest dachshund races, but there will be a special additional race at the end for all dogs in costume. Special to the Lake Okeechobee News.

The inaugural races in 2017 attracted about 40 pint-sized racers, who were grouped into heats by age category, with prizes given for each heat. Many of last year’s contestants will be back this year — the winners trying to defend their titles and challengers eager to claim the fame for themselves.

Contestants must be signed up in advance so that organizers will know how many heats to plan. Local residents can stop by the Okeechobee KOA on U.S. 441 to fill out the applications. Those traveling to Okeechobee to camp at the KOA for the weekend can make arrangements to enter their dogs in the races when they make camping reservations.

Each dog must have two handlers. One handler holds the dog at the starting line. The other handler calls to the dog from the finish line.

After the regular heats are finished, this year’s competition will include a special event. The Lake Okeechobee News will sponsor a special race open to all dachshunds with one rule — all contestants in the event must wear hot dog costumes.

“We really want a photo of as many dachshunds as possible racing in hot dog costumes,” explained Lake Okeechobee News editor Katrina Elsken, who plans to be on the finish line with a camera.

The KOA event does not require the costumes for the regular races. Last year, the dogs were given colorful Oktoberfest scarves to wear. But those who happen to have a hotdog costume can take advantage of the additional race.

The Oktoberfest events will be open to KOA campers and the general public. Day passes will be available for purchase at the front desk for those who are not camping.

Friday, Oct. 19, the festival starts will a “Willkommen Social” from 4 to 8 p.m. with fun in the “Biergarten.” Entertainment will be by an International Polka Band. Live music will also be featured in the Shanty Tiki Bar from 7 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the festival starts at 9 a.m. with vendors, roving entertainment, games and the Florida Outdoors RV Showcase. Dachshund races start at 9 a.m. in the recreation area.

Craft opportunities will include lederhosen T-shirt type dye and decorate your own alpine hat.

A keg rolling contest starts at noon. The Oktoberfest costume contest starts at 1 p.m. Seven Tolliver and the Trop Rock Junkies will perform from 1 to 5 p.m. Cloggers will perform at 3:30 p.m. A cornhole tournament to benefit KOA Care Camps starts at 7 p.m. The Highway One Band will perform from 6 to 10 p.m.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, the pet parade will be at 9 a.m. — costumes encouraged but not required. A Pickleball Challenge tournament to benefit KOA Care Camps starts at noon.
For more information, go online to koa.com or call 863-763-0231.

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