Oktoberfest set to return this Sunday at St. Joseph Church

Children ride the kiddie train in last year’s Oktoberfest. This year’s event is scheduled for Oct. 4 at the St. Joseph Parish Grounds.
Theo Tate

At the end of last year’s St. Joseph Church Oktoberfest, John Becker had a conversation with a group sitting at a picnic table.

“They said, ‘If you give us a tent and a table and reserve it, we’ll give you 100 bucks,’” said Becker, one of the Oktoberfest coordinators. “I’m like, ‘OK, we’ll do that.’”

The conversation gave Becker an idea to add something new to this year’s Oktoberfest, which is scheduled for Oct. 4 at the St. Joseph Parish Grounds in Martinsburg. He’s charging visitors $100 to rent a tent. Ten reservations for a tent have been made.

“You’ll get a tent and a table and your name will be on it,” Becker said. “It’s just a little area reserved for your group, wherever you want to sit at. They can bring lawn chairs, too. It’s just a $100 donation and you’ve got an area for you.”

The Oktoberfest will return for its 13th year with plenty of activities for all ages. The event starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. with a live auction.

“We are excited to have this event,” said Vicki Duenke, another Oktoberfest coordinator. “Of course, with the current health concerns, we are excited that this is already an outdoor event. So we feel like it’s something that we could pull off and still enjoy to do safely.”
Oktoberfest will begin with the car show. Paul Bertels is the main coordinator.

“The cars will all come and be able to be registered starting at 10 o’clock that morning until noon,” Duenke said. “We have about 14 classes with different categories that they could get registered in. We’ve got the nice dash plaques that are being sponsored for the first 75 (cars) by Pro Motor Company.”

Other activities include a quilt raffle, decorated garden angel contest, a photo booth, a country store, a kiddie train, a straw maze, kids games, a wiffle ball tournament, a 50/50 drawing and a table for the St. Joseph’s School graduates. Kettle fried chicken, cheesy hashbrown casserole and beans, brats and hot dogs will be among the food items for sale. A shuttle service will be provided.

“We try to find new things to do every year to keep it fresh and a little different,” Duenke said. “At the country store, we may have some quilts and we’ll have some homemade goodies and things that people can shop for and find a treasure.”
Duenke said renting a tent is a great idea for visitors since the event will be held under the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is an opportunity for you to have a designated socially distanced spot for you and four people with a table of chairs under a pop-up tent,” Duenke said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a gloriously sunny day. If you need some shade or if you want a designated spot to sit down and enjoy the day, we’ve got the spot for you.”

Soccer ball roulette will be introduced in this year’s Oktoberfest.

“This is a new thing that we are in the process of designing,” Duenke said. “It will be a color-based, small gambling station. A soccer ball will come down a chute and will land in muffin pans and they’re color coded and that’s how the winner is determined.”

Duenke said the wiffle ball tournament is pretty popular at Oktoberfest. Each team has five players and the cost is $50 per team.

“We have room to host 10 teams,” Duenke said. “We have that across the road from the church in the school grounds on the east side of the school. They can have five players on each team. It makes it for a fun afternoon for people of all ages.”


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