The role of Miss Oktoberfest demands a big personality, a well-rounded woman who can be Palm Beach County's goodwill ambassador of German culture, and who can, of course, enjoy a good German brau.
Cooper City's Jennifer Belter believes she's as well-rounded as Miss Oktoberfest contestants come. A graduate of Broward College's Aviation Institute who majored in Air Traffic Control, Belter, 25, is also a licensed nursing assistant and works as a dog groomer.
And beer? Don't get her started on beer.
"Beer is my second language. Well, my third. I speak German, too," Belter says with a laugh. "I love to talk to people, and put myself out there. People have said I have a very inviting smile and an open personality, which can be very disarming."
If it sounds as if Belter is auditioning to win a beauty pageant, in a way, she is. She's one of 10 Broward- and Palm Beach-based finalists who will be vying for Miss Oktoberfest during Saturday's contest at the American German Club of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth.
The victor will become the club's official dirndl- and sash-wearing envoy of German culture between now and next August, when a new fraulein (or frau) will be crowned. She'll be responsible for promoting the motherland's heritage and traditions around Palm Beach County and rubbing elbows at the volunteer-run club's social outings, such as Oktoberfest, set for Oct. 10-12 and Oct. 17-19 at the same venue.
Miss Oktoberfest is part of a roster of club happenings that day. The Lords of the Nürburgring Car Show will feature 100 classic and custom Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz autos. A pre-pageant dinner will include wiener schnitzel, potatoes au gratin, garden salad, dessert and coffee, and will be followed by the pageant itself. Judges will award points based on contestants' interest in German culture, enthusiasm and other categories.
The evening will culminate with the sixth annual National Masskrugstemmen Championship, a contest in which challengers grip a 5-pound stein of Hofbräu München Original at arm's length and attempt to outhold their opponents. The champ will win a trip to New York to participate in the German-American Steuben Parade.
The four finalists were selected in July, but anyone can flex their beer muscles in a just-for-fun Masskrugstemmen. There is a good chance the Miss Oktoberfest ladies will get involved, says Jennifer McDaniel Hutchinson, the pageant’s coordinator.
“Two of the ladies held it out for a pretty long time last year, and they were in their evening gowns. So they can tough it out,” Hutchinson says. “They drank the whole stein when they were done.”
The second annual Miss Oktoberfest 2014 pageant will run 6- 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at the American-German Club of the Palm Beaches, 5111 Lantana Road, in Lake Worth. The Masskrugstemmen will begin at 9:45 p.m. Admission is $25, and includes dinner. The 11 a.m.-6 p.m. car show admission is $8. Call 561-632-2098 or go to AmericanGermanClub.org.