By Colleen Mahoney
Back for the 11th year, the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce’s biggest annual event, Oktoberfest, is only two weeks away – on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Village residents and visitors can enjoy a day and evening of live music, traditional German food, craft beer and local wines from Merritt Winery and Ellicottville Winery. The Springville Meat Shoppe will provide bratwurst and bratburgers, other offerings include Spar’s Hungarian and Augsburg sausage, homemade sauerkraut, German potato salad and pretzel sliders.
“We try to do everything as traditionally as possible” said Jeanne Ellis, co-chair of the Oktoberfest committee, “but still think out of the box … this is a great opportunity to try some different craft beers.”
In addition to the German feast, Fireman’s Park will be filled with music from local favorites. From 2:30 – 5 p.m., the Springville Jazz Orchestra will play in the beer hall, while Mike Nugent entertains guests in the bar area until 5:30 p.m. Joe Wagner will take over in the bar area at 6 p.m., playing until 10 p.m. In the beer hall, The Frankfurters return for another year to bring their German roots to the festival from 6-10 p.m.
Ellis lived in Germany for seven years and attended five Oktoberfests during that time. Bringing that experience to Springville was a fun way for her to keep that tradition alive.
“I think the camaraderie of the community is what we’re looking for,” Ellis said. “We’ve had the same bartender, same cook … I think people just know what they’re getting.”
On the lawn, the annual Southtowns German Car and Motorcycle show will give festival goers a chance to view some of the best-kept cars in the area from 2 – 5 p.m. During the car show, local vendors and businesses will be showcased.
To add a spirit of competition, the best German costume and best Apfel desserts contests return for another year. Those who would like to participate in the German costume contest should come to the festival in their German garb; winners will be announced around 7 p.m. by the Frankfurters. To compete in the best Apfel (German for apple) dessert contest, bring your dish to the kitchen window by 4 p.m. the day of Oktoberfest.
“We also have a surprise this year … the first annual wiener run,” Ellis said. “People will dress up in hot dog costumes and run from home to second base.”
Ellis said the committee came up with the idea as a way to bring a little more competition, and laughter, to the day. The top four fastest runners will compete in the finals, running the bases.
“It’s going to make for great pictures, it will be too funny,” she said.
Also new this year, the Oktoberfest will have garbage-can beer-pong set up for visitors. Ellis added that people are encouraged to bring their own lawn games to help enjoy the day.
Keeping with the traditions of Germany, Mayor William Krebs will tap a wooden keg filled with Marzen beer. Ellis said the tapping of the keg is a tradition in Munich and is always done by the mayor.
A fireworks show from the ball fieldwill end the night’s festivities. Ellis explained that the fireworks were an addition last year and the response was overwhelmingly positive so they continued it for 2016.
“They were beautiful last year … everyone commented on them,” Ellis said. “That will be about dusk … and I think it will be great, again.”
While Oktoberfest brings a little bit of Germany to Springville, Ellis said it’s also a day for the community to come together to enjoy the beginning of fall and there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help make the event run smoothly.
“We always need volunteers … anyone willing to help,” she said. “We need cooks, window people … really anything will help.”
The free festival will take place rain or shine. The Springville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Oktoberfest is Saturday, Sept. 24, from 2-11 p.m. at Fireman’s Park, 70 Nason Blvd., off Waverly Street. For more information on the event, visit www.SpringvilleChamber.com or call 592-4746. Those looking to volunteer should contact Ellis at 724-2440, or call the Chamber office.