Almost all of the 350,000 people who attend Mount Angel Oktoberfest ride the people mover trolleys.
This year the movers will be brand new! The production of these new trolleys combined education, business and volunteers to help students improve their comprehension of their course work and improve the festival.
Gary Grassman, welding instructor at Chemeketa Community College, moonlights as a volunteer director for Mount Angel Oktoberfest's board. He could see potential for the Oktoberfest in owning their own people movers and in having his students complete a project that would reflect real job experience. He proposed this to the Oktoberfest Board and leaders at Chemeketa's Career Technical Education (CTE) program for his welding fabrication students.
Both parties could see the benefits, and the project took off. Grassman was able to get many community businesses to contribute to the success of the students and keep the costs minimal for Oktoberfest.
Grassman and his friend, Doug Jones, created the sketch designs, which Jones converted to CAD. This involved a complex 3-D model of the finished people movers, as well as hundreds of individual parts. These drawings helped the CTE students visualize the parts and assembly needed to be successful with their work.
American Steel, located in Canby, sold the steel to Oktoberfest as a reduced cost.
Don Earl Jr. Construction, which also doubles as a wholesale supplier of trailer parts, provided components such as the lighting and axles at cost.
Les Schwab Tires, longtime sponsors of Oktoberfest, helped with the tires and wheels.
Zephyr Engineering and Fabrication, located in Salem, donated the complex laser cutting of the parts, including letters for the signs on the back of each vehicle.
Mount Angel Auto Body donated paint supplies and labor, giving the red and blue trolleys their final shine.
Oktoberfest volunteers assembled the final details at several work parties during the summer.
The result has been not only four new people movers that will be kept locally, but it provided practical experience for 13 CTE students in the welding and fabrication program, helping them to graduate.
Oktoberfest is Sept. 14-17.