By Beccy Tanner
The 34th Annual Oktoberfest is about to take place and already there is excitement brewing in the community.
Oktoberfest is Oct. 7, following tradition of always having it on the first Saturday in October.
Here’s what you need to know:
Don’t forget your buttons!
Oktoberfest buttons are available for purchase – cost is $5 — at Ampride, Main Street Market, the Stafford City Office, Joan’s Café, Prairie Bank and at the Stafford County Register of Deeds in St. John.
Buttons and your presence are needed to claim major prizes that range anywhere from a Drone with a 4K EIS Camera, an Ingloo 70 QT Premium Trailmate Wheeled Rolling Cooler to a pizza oven, air fryer and Deluxe Stadium Seat with lumbar support.
Also don’t forget to bring your money because you will want to buy handcrafted arts and crafts as well as some of the great food items for sale.
And … don’t forget Friday night (Oct. 6) Music Bingo where six food venders will be present, and the Norwich/Stafford game will be streamed.
Plus, there is a beer garden … because, what’s the point of having an Oktoberfest with no beer?
But beyond that, why go?
“It’s a great community event,” says Jami Downing, Stafford’s city clerk/city administrator. “I mean, it’s really the highlight of the year around here. We love adding things to it and cleaning things up in preparation.
“It’s about all the community it brings together. We have people who aren’t from here who frequent it because they just like coming.”
Fun fact: One couple actually moved to Stafford because they loved Oktoberfest!
“They thought it was the neatest thing and they had so much fun – and then, years later they ended up moving here,” Downing said.
Over the years, events have changed, some have evolved and still others are solid tradition.
Alas, the Wiener Dog races are no more.
It ran for 10 years and then, just kind of tapered off.
“Some people came just for that,” Downing said. “Over the years, we have had pumpkin races where people had to decorate pumpkins, put wheels on them and make them mobile. We have also done inflatable costume obstacle races, bed races, lip sync battles and trivia games sometimes.”
This year, though, there are some new events. But plans are to gear up big for next year, the festival’s 35 anniversary.
This year, there will be mullet and Mahomes lookalike contest; and Redneck Olympics and Stein holding contests.
Wait … Redneck Olympics?
“We will have something where the contestants will have to toss something through a toilet seat ring and dig in the hay,” Downing said.
Events for Music Bingo on Friday night start at 5 p.m.
Oktoberfest on Saturday run from 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m.
The parade in downtown Stafford begins at 11 a.m.
“There is always a lot of good food,” Downing said. “We will have about six vendor food trucks.”
Her personal favorites are the Wizard of Oz truck that has pulled pork and curly fries with pork, cheese and all sorts of wonder foods on it.
There is also the Wheatland Food Truck “which obviously always has good food.”
So, three things to remember:
- Don’t forget your button.
- Bring money.
- Plan on having oodles of fun!