Jefferson City's Oktoberfest sees growth

Annual event set for Saturday

Cathy Carter yells out some encouragement after releasing an eager Dexter from the starting line during the 2012 Oktoberfest dachshund races in Jefferson City.

Cathy Carter yells out some encouragement after releasing an eager Dexter from the starting line during the 2012 Oktoberfest dachshund races in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Gemütlichkeit!

(You may be forgiven if you thought someone just sneezed.)

Although the German word has no exact translation into English — it means a mix of “coziness,” “friendliness” and “no need to hurry” — it’s exactly the kind of feeling organizers of the Old Munichburg Association’s Oktoberfest hope to foster from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

This year’s event will be slightly different than previous celebrations, since some of the land formerly used for vendors and tents is the site of the new Hawthorne Bank under construction.

To accommodate the change, the festival is spilling out onto Dunklin Street, Washington Street and Broadway. Event coordinator Cathy Zumwalt said the Prairie Farms Warehouse lot at 126 W. Dunklin St. will be the new site for many of the festival’s activities.

Several Missouri wineries — Canterbury Winery, Serenity Valley, Cooper’s Oak, Les Bourgeois, to name a few — will be on hand offering wine tastings. Zumwalt said the festival also will feature Oktoberfest-style beers in the beer garden area.

Many people also attend the festival to sample authentic German-style cuisine such as bratwurts, sauerkraut, potato salad and strudel.

This year 77 vendors — eight more than last year — will be selling their crafts and food. “Yes, we are growing,” Zumwalt said.

Zumwalt also said people may want to come see German craft demonstrations, such as rye coiled-basket weaving and blacksmithing.

Music and dancing also are main features of the Old Munichberg Oktoberfest.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Loehnig German Band will be perform on the Washington Street Main Stage. And at 1 p.m. the Rhineland Wurstjaegers dance troop will perform on Washington Street. And from 2-3 p.m. the Hometown Cloggers — about 25 children — follow the Wurstjaegers.

One of the highlights of the event is the Dachshund Costume Contest and Derby Race, which start at 2 p.m. at the Central United Church of Christ parking lot.

“But the big entertainment will be the band ‘Man in the Ring,’ which has been the No. 1 band in Columbia,” Zumwalt said. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the band — which performs folk, country and rock tunes — will appear on the Washington Street Main Stage from 3-6 p.m.

The festival aims for a family-friendly atmosphere. Games and activities will be held in “Kids Korner” near the church all day.

The festival, for the first time, is also offering handicapped-accessible parking, located in front of the Coca-Cola building on Washington Street.

“All proceeds from the event go to improvements in the district,” Zumwalt added.

Walter Schroeder, who grew up in the neighborhood and has become an expert on its history, said German Oktoberfests originally developed to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and the goodness of summer.

“It’s a good time of the year to come together with your family and have fun,” he said.

For more information, call 573-635-6524 or visit www.oldmunichburg.com

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