Monday, October 17, 2011


When I heard about Dustoberfest my mind lit up with images of busty domineering German women serving tall steins of beer and bratwurst. I imagined a Tyrolean band with a tuba horn and accordion playing folk dances as a large crowd spun on the dance floor. When I got there, I did find Bratwurst on the menu but I was told they ran out of bratwurst and would have to substitute it with kielbasa. Being a homogenized American, I knew I probably wouldn't know the difference. The Stardust Video and Coffee (842 East Winter Park Road) staff was scrambling around in the kitchen. Most of the staff was in liederhosen. I ordered a Hofbrau German beer. When served, Ich sacht, "Danke."

I sat at the end of a long table made from antique doors with a thick layer of ocher varnish on top. Doug Rhodehamel, in liederhosen sat with friends and staff at a central table. Balloons and streamers in the colors of the German flag decorated the ceiling. One long yellow balloon with two red balloons at it's base was a bit suggestive. A little girl was dancing and playing in the room. A staff member went to cut off the long thin yellow balloon at the base but the whole clump fell down. The girl was ecstatic with her large bouquet of balloons. She proceeded to pop them causing every one in the quiet room to jump and shout "Woe!" There was some German music playing on the radio but it soon degenerated into modern pop. After several hours, Doug and other staff members changed out of their liederhosen.

So there was little pomp and circumstance, no polkas or twirling crowds but the food was good and the beer delicious. Friends talked the afternoon away as I sketched. Life was good.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at