MINSTER – The Minster Oktoberfest, coming up Oct. 1-3, is expected to draw an estimated 80,000 people to Minster to enjoy the town’s German heritage, including ethnic food, crafts and beer, and entertainment ranging from German bands to local musical talent.
According to Theresa Thien, Oktoberfest Publicity and Communication chair, the world’s largest party starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, with the Arts and Craft show opening at the north end of the Oktoberfest park, and German music by Autobahn at the village gazebo at 7 p.m.
Local artist Buff Francis will rock the audience at the Heritage Beer Garden while Karma’s Pawn will be at Spass Platz, both from 8 to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday morning will begin with a car show at Community Lanes bowling alley with registration starting at 9:30 a.m. Little Miss Oktoberfest, a competition for 5 and 6 year old girls at the Knights of Columbus Hall, will begin at 9:30. Thien said that for those who cannot attend the contest, they will be streaming the event live on the Oktoberfest Facebook page.
The 45 exhibitors of the Arts and Craft Show open for business at 10 a.m. and the food and beverage stands will open 11.
Thien took a moment to explain how a village with a population of almost 2,900 souls can pull off such a large event.
“Every organization in Minster has a part in the action,” she said. “For some organizations, selling food, crafts or other services at Oktoberfest is just one of their fund-raisers, but for other groups the festival is their only event to raise money for their group activities,” she added.
Immediately following noon Opening Ceremonies at the gazebo on Saturday, the Miss Oktoberfest pageant will begin at Spass Platz at 12:30. German music group Schnapps Band will be at the gazebo from 1 to 6 p.m.
The popular Beer Tray Relay starts at 2 p.m. on Fourth Street. Thien said that 36 four-person teams are signed up to see who can run the fastest without spilling beer. She added that while most teams are sponsored by local businesses, some people form their own team just for the fun of it.
The German music group Klaberheads will entertain with at Spass Platz from 3:30 to 7 p.m.
Another uniquely Oktoberfest activity, the Jug Hoist, will be held on 4th Street at 4 p.m., after the Beer Tray Relay is done. The Jug Hoist is a contest of strength and stamina, with individuals holding a full jug of beer on their index finger, with thumb upright and at arms length, with the winner being the one to hold on the longest. The competitors are sponsored, not surprisingly, by local bars and taverns.
Thien said the newest feature of the Oktoberfest is a home-brewed beer contest where amateur beer meisters compete for recognition as the best beer maker. Winners will be announced after judging by local micropubs Tailspin, Moeller Brew Barn and Gongoozlers.
German music continues at the gazebo with Schnickelfritz from 7 to 11 p.m. and Autobahn at Spass Platz from 8 pm to 11:30 p.m.
At the Heritage Beer Garden, local favorites Zach and Steve Rosenbeck will take the stage from 8 to 11:30 p.m., closing out the night’s entertainment.
Sunday starts with an Oktoberfest 10K run, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Minster High School and ends at Spass Platz where awards are given. The Arts and Crafts booths open at 10 and the beverage and refreshments stands start up at 11 a.m.
The big event of the festival is the Minster Oktoberfest Parade, which begins at 2 p.m. The theme for the 2021 parade is “Wieder Zusammen” which translates into “Together Again.” Its Grand Marshall Gerry Huelsman will lead a 140 unit parade. The route starts at the Dutch Mill on Fourth Street, heading west through the Oktoberfest grounds, then north on sState Route 66, ending at Seventh Street.
After the parade, German group Schnickelfritz plays from 3:30 to 8 p.m. at the gazebo and at the same time, the Klaberheads will perform at Spass Platz. Wrapping up the evening with Mark Cantwil in the Heritage Beer Garden playing from 4 to 8 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.