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story.lead_photo.caption Mel and Pat Propst dance Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, during the first day of Jefferson City's 16th Annual Oktoberfest on Dunklin Street. Photo by Shelby Kardell / News Tribune.

For the 18th straight year, Jefferson City's Oktoberfest will celebrate German heritage and raise money for a local community improvement group.

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Hosted by the Old Munichburg Association, Oktoberfest celebrates the neighborhood's German history and funds association projects that improve the area.

Over the past several years, the association commissioned a mural on Dunklin Street to beautify the area and formed a community improvement district, which provides funds to replace aging sidewalks and gutters.

The group also plans to begin a project to mark the site of the neighborhood's old bell tower at the corner of Washington and Dunklin streets, Old Munichburg Association member Julie Schroeder said.

"We want to remind people this is a fundraiser for our organization," Schroeder said.

Festivities kick off at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28 with a roast beef dinner at the Central United Church of Christ, 118 Ashley St. From 4:30-9 p.m. a beer garden will be set up in the church's parking lot. Performances by the Hermann-based Loehnig Family German Band and Jefferson City group MOstly Opera will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the beer garden.

A full day of events begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 29. Most Saturday events will take place near the corners of Washington and Dunklin streets.

Schroeder's father, Walter Schroeder, will sign copies of his third book, "Buddy Stories," beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Old Munichburg Association booth at the corner of Washington and Dunklin streets.

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Live music begins at 10 a.m. on the main stage near Prairie Farms' warehouse on Washington Street. The headliner, 1980s pop cover band Burning Down the House, will take the main stage from 2-5 p.m.

Brats will be served from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. in the beer garden on Washington Street.

Schroeder said the association wants to make Oktoberfest family-friendly as well. A Kids Korner will be set up in the Hawthorn Bank parking lot at 211 W. Dunklin St. with crafts, pony rides and a pumpkin-shaped bounce house.

The popular Dachshund Derby dog races will be held on a grass course just west of Hawthorn Bank. Registration runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. A costume contest starts at 1 p.m. and will be followed by the races.

For the first time, a beer stein-holding competition will be held on the main stage at 3 p.m. Schroeder said the objective of the competition will be for participants to hold a 1-liter beer stein with their arms straight out for as long as they can.

The Old Munichburg Association formed in 2000 and for the first several years held the festival in mid-October. During Oktoberfest's early years, it became known for rainy weather, Schroeder said. Several years ago the event moved to the last weekend in September and has had much better weather.

If the weather cooperates, Schroeder said, as many as 8,000 people could attend the weekend's festivities.

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