Annual library fundraiser draws costumed crowds

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Antony and Cleopatra partake in the beverages offered at JFK’s Library’s annual Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest has been an annual fundraising event for the JFK Library for many years | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Mandy Nicole, Contributor

Last Saturday, bedecked in diamonds, bow ties, and shined to perfection, attendees of this year’s Oktoberfest poured into the JFK Library atrium for night of old-Hollywood glitz.

Participants in the library’s only fundraising event of the year were met by volunteers: some dressed as Hollywood starlets and heartthrobs, and some in the quirkier garb of cinema’s most colorful characters.

A library volunteer pulls pints of beer for Oktoberfest. Patrons dressed up as characters such as Indiana Jones, Chewbacca and Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette disbursed tickets, a young James Dean offered bidder numbers, and flitting through the crowds in surgical scrubs reminiscent of Gray’s Anatomy, Carol King kept the party running smoothly.

King, the director of Library Engagement and External Relations, was the backbone of Saturday’s event.

When asked how the night was going, King said, “It’s awesome. Everyone is having a great time.”

The Dean of Libraries, Suzanne Milton, said Oktoberfest belonged to King and her committee of volunteers.

“Carol deserves all the credit for tonight,” said Milton. “She and her team made it happen.”

Patrons and guests expressed enjoyment of this year’s theme, and many got into the spirit themselves, dressed either in red-carpet attire or iconic costumes. Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Indiana Jones, Chewbacca, Sandy Olsson, and Clint Eastwood all made appearances in the crowd of guests and bidders.

Paul Rodman, a cataloging specialist for JFK Library, said most of the bidder numbers he distributed belonged to patrons who attended year after year. “A lot of these people come every year,” Rodman said, comparing the event to a family gathering.

Rodman, who also served as the head of the decorating committee, said Oktoberfest is a much-loved tradition for many of the guests.

One couple, dressed as Professor Sprout and Mad-Eye Moody, said they attended Oktoberfest yearly as a way to support their son, who attends EWU, as well as the staff of the library.

The goal of the yearly Oktoberfest celebration is to raise funds through silent and live auction, and to build the Collection Endowment Fund, with which JFK can purchase collection materials and resources for EWU students.

“None of the money we raise goes toward operations,” said Milton. “Every penny goes into the Endowment Fund to support the students. This is all for them.”

Two attendees play a spin the wheel game. Prizes ranged from movie note pads to champagne bubbles | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

Patrons spent the first part of the evening participating in silent auctions and simple chance games. Christian Garcia and Kelly Parks, two graduate students who donated their time and talent, set the mood with live music. After the silent auction, DJ X, an EWU alumnus, provided Broadway soundtrack and film score music while guests bid on bigger items in a live auction.

The library won’t know exactly how much money was raised until later this week, but King is optimistic.

“The night was a big success,” King said. “It might have been our best one yet.”

Next week, after just a few days to catch their breath, King and her committee will begin to plan next year’s festivities.