On September 21, 2019 Heidi Rhea’s dream of having a successful and lively family friendly Oktoberfest celebration, in support of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF), came true. The 1,200 plus attendees surprised even Heidi herself.
Heidi, a patient of cholangiocarcinoma, is also an active volunteer with CCF. She plays a crucial part in helping bring awareness to cholangiocarcinoma. She planned this fundraising event to show her support. She says that she has simply lost too many friends to the disease, especially young people, and she wants to find out why. She hosted the Oktoberfest so that she could contribute research dollars to help find a cure.
Living outside of New Orleans, Heidi thought a family oriented Oktoberfest would make for a great event. Heidi spent months planning with the help of family, friends and the Hosanna Lutheran Church, who helped to host the event. Plans came together as she secured the Covington Trailhead as the venue. Flyers were made, friends offered marketing help to publicize the event, and Heidi continued to spend hours planning the logistics of the day. She and her daughter, Heather Burbrink, and grandchildren dressed in their dirndls and lederhosen promoted the event on Fox 8 Live’s morning show.
Revelers enjoyed live German music, dancing, and multiple food trucks with pretzels, wienerschnitzel, sauerkraut and beer galore. Children enjoyed decorating their faces with paint and glitter, playing games, pretzel necklace making stations and Bavarian hat decorating. Heidi brought some German “bile” ducks that the children could play with, including a huge stuffed duck named Billy Rubin. In a creative way these ducks help spread awareness about cholangiocarcinoma and educate others that the disease is commonly known as bile duct cancer. The event had a great turn out and the dance floor remained packed well into the evening. Heidi is pleased to share that Oktoberfest 2020 is already booked for September 19th and promises it will be bigger and better.