Oktoberfest goes on despite Regina German Club financial struggles

An annual festival means much more than usual for a Regina cultural landmark this weekend. 

The Regina German Club is hosting Oktoberfest on October 19 and 20.  

And while the usual celebrations, music, beer and lederhosen will be present, the club is hoping the people will also show support with their wallets. 

"Our building has aged," said German Club manager Keri Van Loosen.

She said over the years infrastructure was not the priority it should have been and now the club is struggling to maintain their historic building at 1727 St. John Street. 

"This day and age funds are limited and people aren't as willing to spare a few extra dollars here and there ... so we're seeing less extra cash come in." 

After a slow summer, Van Loosen says the club has several events booked into 2019 which will help. But she's hopeful that Oktoberfest this weekend will help boost the bank account. 

"Number one priority is the furnace, our air condition is on its last legs, we haven't replaced all the plumbing piping yet, a lot of it is still copper. A lot of it has been eroded and we've slowly been replacing that with plastic pipe," she said.

The club recently had to fix their walk-in fridge, have to keep their hood range updated with fire code, and need new chairs and flooring.

But that's not the end of list she describes as "never-ending."

"The front patio, all the bricks are sinking now with the way things have shifted. Of course, we don't want a problem with flooding or anything like that, so we have to get the elevation correct again."

Sam Maciag / CBC Saskatchewan

At the end of August, the club created a GoFundMe page to alert members that they needed help and to really remind people they were still there. So far they've raised $2,020 of their $5,000 goal. The money is going toward fixing the furnace because Van Loosen says they haven't been able to scrape together enough to replace it —something they really need to do.

For Van Loosen, the German Club is a family affair.  She said they would be devastated if it was forced to close, but believes it would also hurt the neighbourhood because so many people think of it as "their grandfather's basement."

"It would be a loss if things went wrong, but I'm pretty darn confident we'll pull through with everything," she said.