HELM Oktoberfest – the Bavarian festival spirit heads north
Under the banner of the ‘HELM Oktoberfest’ the Company decided to bring a taste of Munich’s world-famous beer festival to Hamburg for this year’s Annual Meeting, with a (recommended) traditional dress-code to match. On 22 September, HELM’s employees with their personal guests – around 1,000 partygoers in total – made their way to the ‘Schuppen 52’ event venue in Hamburg Harbour. A small fleet of ferry-barges carried the ladies in their ‘dirndls’ and the gentlemen in their ‘lederhosen’ across the River Elbe. When all the guests had crossed the Foyer and had the festive ‘lebkuchenherz’ hung around their necks it was time for the party to begin!
‘Schuppen 52’ had been transformed into an Oktoberfest tent with maypoles, an Oktoberfest Market, long trestle tables and chairs all decked out in characteristic Bavarian blue and white. The tables already sported tempting snacks including pretzels, radishes, Bavarian cheese spread, boiled eggs and Bavarian country ham.
The guests were welcomed and compered through the evening programme by well-known TV presenter Yared Dibaba, who had swapped his usual suit for traditional Bavarian garb and quickly got everyone in the mood with his yodelling showpiece. The ‘Team of the Year 2018’ and ‘Employee of the Year 2018’ were presented with their awards onstage, then our Chairman of the Executive Board Hans-Christian Sievers ceremonially broke the first beer keg and declared the Bavarian buffet open.
This featured typical southern German dishes such as roast chicken, cheese ‘spätzle’, white sausage and spit-roasted suckling pig. The beer flowed freely and you could feel everyone relaxing and enjoying the fantastic atmosphere. During the meal we were treated to a further insight into Bavarian culture and customs in a ‘Peitschenknallern’ (‘whipcracking’) show, with the actors cracking their long whips loudly and rhythmically through the air.
A highlight of the evening was the small Oktoberfest Market with its different stalls, where the guests had fun for hours ‘throwing the can’, at the shooting gallery, playing ‘Woody Woodpecker’ and testing their strength with the Big Hammer.
There were giant teddy-bears to win as First Prize, which the winners displayed proudly.
Live bands got the dancefloor cooking with a string of popular hits, followed by DJs keeping up a hot pace with a great variety of tunes long into the night. Photographers captured the most memorable moments of the evening, with the guests queuing up to pose against the picturesque ‘Alpine background’ cleverly staged for the occasion.
In a nutshell the HELM Oktoberfest was a thoroughly enjoyable evening that we’ll all look back on very fondly. We’re already looking forward to the next themed Annual Meeting!
(Dual Student, Nordakademie)