NEWBERRY — With October right around the corner, that means one thing for Newberry: the 15th annual Oktoberfest is also right around the corner.
The annual event will be the first Saturday of October, which happens to be Oct. 1 this year, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in Downtown Newberry.
Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator for the City Of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, said the reason we have this festival is to celebrate Newberry’s founding German heritage.
“The town of Newberry was founded primarily by German settlers who came over from Europe. A lot of our natives who live here have some kind of ties to German heritage. We take a day to celebrate that,” she said. “Our Oktoberfest is not your typical Oktoberfest. Number one, we do have that founding father German heritage background. A lot of places do not have it as strongly as we do. Number two, we do not focus exclusively on food and beer. We also make it a family friendly event.”
Kopp added that Oktoberfest is also a day-long celebration of Newberry and will have something for everyone, including Kindertown, live music, craft vendors, art shows, puppets, history and more.
“Even if you do not have children, or you are just a kid at heart. I encourage everyone to visit Kindertown. It really is something for everyone in town, not just for ages 3 to 18,” Kopp said.
Kindertown will include a variety of attractions and vendors selling toys like handmade plush toys, handmade wooden toys and more. Face painting will be featured and Dr. Magical Balloons will be floating around giving out free balloon animals.
A variety of free rides and attractions will include inflatables, an air-conditioned video game truck and a carousel, which is a new feature this year. The inflatables will include a bouncy house, a slide and an obstacle course in the courthouse parking lot. The carousel, which can seat 20 people, will be in Astwood Park.
An item to note is that Kindertown is right next to the First Aid and Command Post, so if a child is separated from their parents they should head toward the Post and locate an Oktoberfest employee, who can be identified by their matching Oktoberfest staff shirts.
The Columbia Marionettes, sponsored by the Newberry Community Players, will give free performances of “The Tortoise and the Hare” at the Ritz Theater at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Kopp encourages folks to check out the Ritz and see all they work done to the inside of the building.
Community Corner/Handmade Arts and Crafts
The Community Corner and the Newberry County Humane Society will be located near the intersection of Main Street and Holman Street.
“We are excited to have them. The Humane Society will be out there doing pet adoptions and they will also do some fundraising with bake sales and things like that,” Kopp said.
The Community Corner will include churches, non-profits and health and wellness groups. The Southern Rose Carnival Organ will be in that area and Komatsu will have its tractor there. Kopp said that will make a great photo op.
As visitors make their way down Main Street they will also come across sidewalk sales and vendors.
“We love it when our downtown merchants have sidewalk sales. We think that is awesome, getting the people engaged,” Kopp said.
Kopp said they will have about 40 arts and craft vendors on Main Street and Boyce Street. Boyce Street will include vendors with handmade guitars, sweetgrass baskets and handmade soaps and more. Main Street will include vendors selling handmade aprons, glass work and handmade jewelry.
Kopp recommends visitors bring cash as some vendors will accept debit/credit cards and some will not. An ATM will also be available in Memorial Park for those who need cash.
The Newberry Museum will host a free living history exhibit that features eight stories of famous — and infamous — Newberry characters and legends. The stories will be presented as consecutive presentations at 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. at the Taylor Building at the corner of Friend and College streets.
Some of the stories will include Emily Geiger of the Revolutionary Period, who dared to carry a message from General Greene to Thomas Sumter, and was detained by the British. Then there is the story of “Bloody Bill” Cunningham, a native Patriot who was angered at not receiving an elevation in rank, changed sides to become a Tory and ardent enemy of those in this area who took sides against British Rule.
This year’s music stage will be a bit different in comparison to years past. It will be flipped to the corner of Main and Nance to face the road. This will allow the music to travel up the road throughout the festival.
The music stage will feature Zumba Fitness at 10 a.m., 3 Dot Polka Band at 10:30 a.m., The Jack Roper and The Weatherman Band at noon, Best German Costume Contest at 12:30 p.m., The Jack Roper and The Weatherman Band return at 12:45 p.m., Retro Vertigo at 2 p.m. and Grand Illusion at 4 p.m.
The winner of the Best German Costume Contest will get an Oktoberfest T-shirt. Anyone interested in being in the contest should be at the stage before 12:30 p.m.
The Newberry Arts Center will hold an art sale and provide information on classes for all ages while Newberry Car Buffs will have their classic cars on display in the parking lot next to the Coca-Cola mural.
“We felt it was fitting — you have the classic Coke mural background with all these classic cars,” Kopp said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.