Vektoberfest: A Night to Remember
I didn’t know what to expect from an event titled "Vektoberfest. I knew there would be food trucks, a speech, and a drone show to end it all, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. What I couldn’t “see” were the parking lots being considerably full, a lot of people milling around, and the sweet aroma of food trucks. Walking up, you could feel the excitement buzzing through the air with children’s laughter and the chattering of people. When I finally passed through the entry point, I was met with a thrilling sight.
Let me paint an image.
To your right, there was a live band on top of a stage with hay bales as seats for the audience. To your left, three food trucks with long lines of people waiting expectantly for food. And directly in front of you, pure joy with children playing 9-Square in the Air, face painting tents, and a blob of people surrounding one person and moving as one. It didn’t seem like a political event by any means, the only glimpses of it being one were the media moving around to get pictures, the “Truth” signs for Vivek Ramaswamy’s 2024 presidential campaign, and of course Vivek Ramaswamy’s presence.
This wasn’t like any political event I have been to before, though there were still small quirks about. Like on the Mac n’ Cheese food truck, there was a cow that didn’t look quite right — the way its eyes made it feel like it could stare straight into your soul. Or the surprisingly competitive game of 9-Square. There was a group of children playing this game in a structure of PVC pipes standing in the air. It was extremely funny seeing one of my fellow members join in on the fun. He stood a few feet taller than the children, and his hair was barely touching the bottom of the pipes above. Apparently, the objective was to hit a ball over the pipes and try to get another person to drop the ball, moving slowly to the center where they would start with the ball.
Eventually, it came time for Vivek Ramaswamy to take the stage. The energy he exuded was electrifying. The candidate took the stage as Thunder by Imagine Dragons blared from the speakers and drew the audience’s attention. Prior to this, I had never heard Ramaswamy speak, and I didn’t know what to expect. I will say, he was a very confident speaker and could be very charismatic too.
Vivek Ramaswamy started off by introducing a young girl who appeared to support him. One of his campaign proposals is to have high school seniors take the civics test to be able to vote. He spoke on how this was seen as a controversial plan and how some were opposed to the idea. This young girl decided to write a letter to him about how she studied for and took the civics test. She ended up getting a perfect score on the test as a 10-year-old. To me, this showed the influence Vivek has on younger generations.
After his pitch for presidency, the drone show happened. It was probably the highlight of the night. I had never seen a drone show in real life prior to this point. I knew the basics — like how they would make shapes in the sky with different colored light, but I didn’t know how it would be used with a presidential candidate. It was amazing seeing the different images that were programmed into the drones. There was a drummer, the American Flag, a picture of Iowa, and even a QR code that could be used to commit to caucus for Vivek. Finally, the last image was a call to caucus on January 15th.
While I didn’t know what to expect with Vektoberfest, I can say that it was an event I am glad I didn’t miss. It wasn’t like a normal rally where you only hear from the candidate, but an event filled with exciting activities and events. It felt like an event where the politically unengaged could enjoy themselves and become politically engaged.