Monday, September 29th, 2008
By Margie Wuebker
Bobblehead with mug honors Oktoberfest
  MINSTER - Take an attorney and two managers with an interest in establishing a new Oktoberfest tradition. Add a wealth of ideas plus suggestions from their wives. Stir everything carefully and allow mixture to steep during strategy sessions at Bud's Pizza.
Fritz, a limited edition bobblehead doll with rosy cheeks and dark lederhosen, is the end result of the ambitious effort. The collectible is now available, just in time for this weekend's Oktoberfest in Minster.
"He turned out really nice," Heath Hegemann says as co-conspirators Greg Hoelscher and Bruce Thobe nod in agreement. "We wanted something authentic looking and this little guy certainly fills the bill."
There is no doubt who came up with the bobblehead theme. All one has to do is mosey around Hegemann's recreation room decked out in finery befitting the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cincinnati Reds. The attorney has amassed an impressive collection of team figures, from players to coaches.
"We talked about doing something like this last year, but we waited too long," Thobe says. "And we nearly waited too long this time around."
The trio collaborated on the design and came up with a decidedly German-looking man they call Fritz. Holding a mug of foam-topped brew, he looks especially dapper in a blue and white checked shirt, lederhosen and a Bavarian hat.
A Chicago supplier worked with them every step of the way with only slight deviations from the original plan. The 6-inch ceramic figures, mounted on round pedestals embossed with the word "Oktoberfest" and the year, were made in China.
"We wanted quality at an affordable price," Hoelscher says. "At $15, we figure the price is right for this guy - one of nearly a thousand ordered."
With the official stamp of approval from the Oktoberfest Committee, the bobbleheads join a list of local collectibles including mugs, shot glasses, wooden shoes and hat pins.
The friends are quick to point out that Fritz is only the beginning of the tradition they envision. Mum's the word on plans for 2009 and thereafter, but there could be a fraulein in the future.
The creators are taking presale orders at 419-628-4813, 419-628-4087 or 419-628-4301. Remaining figures will be for sale this weekend in the arts and crafts area on the festival grounds.
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