NEWBERRY — The 16th annual Newberry Oktoberfest, which will be held on Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., is right around the corner, which means it’s time once again to celebrate Newberry’s German heritage by indulging in authentic German cuisine, music and an estimated 50 arts and crafts vendors in Downtown Newberry.
“We treat it as Newberry’s German heritage festival because lots of folks know that Newberry has a founding German heritage. The folks who kind of founded our town had some kind of Germanic background or were actually German immigrants,” said Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator for the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
Kopp added that what makes Newberry’s Oktoberfest different from others is that the event is family-friendly, focusing on dedicating time and space to families and kids, which is done through Kindertown.
“Kindertown is something that we’ve had for about three years now and it’s what we call our Family Friendly Fun Zone. We’ll have all the children’s rides and activities for free and that includes the carousel, videogame truck and bounce houses and inflatables,” Kopp said. “Lowe’s will be coming back doing their kids craft tent which will also be free for children and we also have a balloon animal maker. All of this is made possible by our Kindertown sponsor, Newberry County Memorial Hospital.”
Also included in Kindertown is Pelican’s Snoballs, face painting and various vendors that will be selling children’s toys, books and crocheted and knitted character hats.
Each arts and crafts vendor participating in Oktoberfest is selected by a jury that reviews applications and makes selections based on vendors they feel represent the best kind of arts and crafts in the area. The jury this year included Marquerite Palmer (Newberry Arts Center), Molly Fortune (Newberry Opera House), Michelle Long (Newberry County Chamber of Commerce), Scott Sawyer (City of Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism) and Paul Ringer (Newberry Downtown Development Association).
A special section called the Community Corner has also been set aside this year where pet adoptions from the local animal shelter and church groups will be set up.
“One thing we did do to kind of mix it up a little bit with our Community Corner section is all of the folks that are in that section are either located in Newberry County or they service Newberry County directly through their non-profit organization. We wanted to be sure that we kept it local since it is a Community Corner,” Kopp said.
The Ritz Theater also will be presenting a free puppet show called Build it Better with the Three Little Pigs put on by the Columbia Marionette Theater. Show times are at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
Also during Oktoberfest, the Newberry Arts Center will be have a student and instructor art sale along with activities and crafts for kids and even adults to enjoy similar to Eclipsefest.
“The photobooth boards that were used during Eclipsefest, they will be repainting those to be Oktoberfest-themed, so they will have some of those there. The plan is to have them set out on Caldwell Street and one of the photobooth boards will be placed in Kindertown that will be kid themed by the Newberry County Memorial Hospital tent,” Kopp said.
At the corner of Main Street and Nance Street will be The Rocktoberfest Stage, sponsored by Self Regional Health. The lineup for live entertainment includes:
• 10:30 a.m.: Three Dot Polka Band
• Noon: Best Traditional German Dress Contest
• 12:15 p.m.: Three Dot Polka Band
• 1 p.m.: No Holds Barred Band
• 2:30 p.m.:Grand Illusion
• 4:15 p.m.: Sweet Tea Trio
Women and men are encouraged to participate in the Best Traditional German Dress Content, which was started in 2014. The winner is chosen based on audience applause and the woman and man who win will receive an Oktoberfest T-shirt.
At the red event tent in Memorial Park, 2017 Oktoberfest T-shirts will be for sale. There is an option for short sleeve, long sleeve or a hoodie Oktoberfest style shirts with the Oktoberfest logo. Sizes range from small to 2X. T-shirts are $10, long sleeve are $15 and hoodies are $20.
Kopp said that although they are welcomed, people attending Oktoberfest are encouraged to leave their pets at home.
“Unlike the Eclipsefest, where we said no pets, the Oktoberfest, we don’t encourage pets, but if you bring your pet it’s fine. Service animals are certainly always allowed, but we do want people to be aware that during Oktoberfest there will be lots of foot traffic and for pets that maybe aren’t used to large crowds or festival type events this is probably not the time to try it out,” Kopp said. “We don’t want anybody’s pets getting lost or stepped on because the number of people just walking up and down the street can turn into a bit of a crush so just for the safety of your pet, we ask that they stay home.”
Kopp added that if pets are brought that owners make sure they are leashed and muzzled and that they are cleaned up after.
Streets will be closing at 4 a.m. the morning of Oktoberfest. Any vehicles in the event area need to be moved the night before. Visit newberryoktoberfest.com for directions to the event and information on parking. Parking is not allowed behind any barricades. Any cars that park in barricaded areas that are not a police cars will be towed.
“We have had people in the past attempt to park at the Post Office. The Post Office is a federal building and is open on Saturday and unless you are going to the Post Office, you are not allowed to park there,” Kopp said.
A free, wheelchair accessible shuttle bus will be provided that will transport people to and from the event throughout the day.
“We have one bus and that bus will run clockwise from the Tractor Supply parking lot taking people to the Newberry Public Library parking lot. That will be one of our first drop off zones for people wanting to get into the festival. From the Public Library, the shuttle will go to the police station and pick people up and drop them off there that are using parking at the police station and from there it will go to Newberry College to the fountain and pick people up and drop them off there,” Kopp said. “Another drop off will be near Kindertown on the College Street area near the Wells Fargo parking lot. The shuttle will do its first pick up at Tractor Supply at 9:30 a.m. and its last shuttle pick up is at the Public Library at 6:30 p.m.”
A Google map for shuttle services can be found by going to newberryoktoberfest.com, click on Parking and Shuttle and select free shuttle (wheelchair accessible) to access the Google map.
The following streets will be blocked for Oktoberfest: Main Street from Nance to Holman Street, Graham Street, Wilson Street, Coates Street, Lindsey Street, College Street, Caldwell Street, McKibben Street, Boyce Street and the County Courthouse parking lot.
Kopp said those planning on attending Oktoberfest need to bring cash for vendors who might not accept cards. An ATM will be on site in Memorial Park for those needing to get money.
In the case of severe inclement weather, the Newberry Oktoberfest will be moved to Oct. 21. For more event information, visit newberryoktoberfest.com or call the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism at 803-321-1015.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.