untitled untitled


Staff writer
She’s difficult to miss at nearly
7 feet tall in heels, dressed in
lederhosen, hanging from a ceiling
swing and yodeling.
They call her the Austrian
Manuela Horn is the “official
swing girl” at Oktoberfest, now
in its ninth year. It’s a weekend
of dining, beer quaffing and
dancing, with live yodeling
and entertainment from Horn
and several other entertainers.
The festival continues Sunday
from 9:45 a.m.-6 p.m. at the
Washington State Fair Event
Center in Puyallup.
Horn has been a bit of a local
celeb since Seattle’s Teatro
ZinZanni recruited her from a
Bavarian nightclub act in 2002.
She moved to Burien, met her
husband, had two children and
settled here.
She’s made her living the
last several years appearing at
Oktoberfests from Puyallup to
Leavenworth. She’s even got a
claim to reality television fame
— she made David Hasselhoff’s
jaw drop when she auditioned for
“America’s Got Talent” in 2009
(more on that in a bit).
On Friday and Saturday, Horn
performed two-hour showcases.
On Sunday, she will perform from
the swing and introduce musical
acts. She’ll also be stationed at
her booth with her homemade
electric sheep, which she might
Dance the dirty chicken
with Austrian Amazon
See SOCIAL, back page

back page See DANCE, B3

just ride through the festival.
We asked a few questions
about her life as a nightclub
performer who doubles as a
stay-at-home mom by day.
Q: How did you get the
Oktoberfest Northwest job
as the swing girl?
A: They put down on the
job description “Looking
for swing girl” four years
ago. I wrote them and told
them I would swing for
them. They were like, “Yeah,
OK.” They hired me and
gave me a microphone and
I did 15 minutes, then I did
45 minutes the next set.
That’s when they asked me
to return as a headliner the
next year. They loved it.
Q: For someone
who’s never seen your
performance, can you
describe it?
A: I would call it a
ginoromous adult-child
birthday party because it has
balloons, bubbles, conga
lines, singalongs and silly
dances. I teach the audience
the dirty chicken dance.
Q: You are going to have
to explain what the dirty
chicken dance is.
A: We invented the dirty
chicken dance a week ago.
We thought there should be
an adult version of this.
Q: Does everyone have
to dance when they watch
A: It’s an audience
participation kind of show
that’s different from all
the other shows you go to.
You’re part of the party and
the show, you sing along and
you dance along. We have
games. I yodel to Top 40 hits.
Q: You yodel to Top 40
A: Yes, it’s a singalong
with a yodalicious twist.
I take Top 40 and rewrite
them. One song (instead of
“Moves like Jagger”) is “I
Got The Moves from Jager
(meister)” and when I sing
Lady Gaga, instead of “Poker
Face,” I do “Polka Face.”
Q: Does singing along
make the beer taste better?
A: Yes. The beer flows
better down your throat
if you shout out once in a
Q: Of all your characters,
your Yodeling Dominatrix
persona — the character
who forces the audience
to have a good time
— probably is the most
famous because you
performed as her for the
television show “America’s
Got Talent” in 2009. David
Hasselhoff seemed
mesmerized. What was
that experience like?
A: It was really fun. I was
pretty confident, but I felt
nervous like every other
contestant on the show.
When I started yodeling, I
felt their power and reaction
and I went naughtier and
naughtier with it. It’s safe to
say I made David Hasselhoff
drool. I can put that on my
Q: You perform
as Gretchen at the
Oktoberfest Northwest, not
the Yodeling Dominatrix?
A: For Oktoberfest, it’s a
Gretchen-goes-Gaga type of
character. I’m trying to be the
Lady Gaga of Oktoberfest.
I’m very sexy and loud,
and my whole show is sexy
and loud. My characters in
dinner theater includes a
gangster, a Catholic school
girl. All these characters are
in the show including the
Yodeling Dominatrix.
I have to admit, I can’t
come up with anything
better than the Yodeling
Dominatrix. It’s such a nutty
concept, and it’s hard to
top. I can’t come up with a
crazier idea.
Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270