- Jim Ingram Staff Writer
One of the Dayton area’s first Oktoberfest celebrations of the season is also one of its newest. The Springboro Oktoberfest, put on by the United Church of Christ this Friday and Saturday, is just four years old. However, it’s already getting buzz as one of the better ones nationwide.
Funtober, a website that reviews Oktoberfests (among other things), named Springboro’s celebration one of the Top 10 Up-and-Coming Oktoberfests for 2014. The organizers have worked hard to improve every aspect of their event every year since then, and they are reaping the rewards of their efforts, organizers told us.
“So many people tell us – people who are actually from Germany, lived in Germany and had been there for small-town Oktoberfests — just go nuts about how authentic our festival is; the food, the bands, the way it’s laid out. Just everything,” said Randy Simmons, one of the event’s organizers.
THE BEST OF THE WURSTS
The staff have gone to great lengths to assure the food is as authentically German as it can be for this side of the Atlantic. The Springboro Oktoberfest offers quite possibly the most impressive lineup of homemade German food in the area. With 10 kinds of wursts, the mouth waters just reading over the selection. Organizers also promise you won’t feel cheated on the size of their schnitzel. Of course, there will be the cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzels, strudel and more to satisfy your German food cravings.
“It’s so great tasting, it will make your German grandmother blush, “ Head Chef Jack Hanson said confidently.
THE BEER (OR BIER)
Now onto the really important details.
The Springboro Oktoberfest has nine beer offerings this year, including German options Paulaner, Ayinger and Hacker-Pschorr. Ayinger will also hold a beer tasting on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“(We’ll have) five Ayinger beers. Two of them are exclusive to the tasting that you won’t be able to buy at the festival otherwise,” Simmons said.
Tickets for the beer tasting are sold separately through the event’s Facebook site or at the Oktoberfest. However, that ticket also gets you into the event and comes with food.
If German beer isn’t your thing, Springboro Oktoberfest also has domestic options and cider. If beer isn’t your thing (who are you good folks?), there will be a wine garden at this year’s event with nine different kinds of wine to sip as the summer sun slowly disappears from our hemisphere.
RAISE YOUR STEINS AND KEEP THEM RAISED
Fancy yourself a strong-armed beer enthusiast? Put your arm to the test with the stein-raising competition, held throughout both days. This event has even caught the attention of the U.S. Steinholding Association (yes, there is such a thing). Prizes are awarded for each competition, with $100 going to the top winners for each day in both the men’s and women’s divisions. This is some serious stuff.
If you’re like me, you’re more into drinking from steins than holding them. Springboro Oktoberfest will be selling one-liter steins representing various breweries for just such an activity.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
There will be a number of attractions geared at both children and the young at heart. Those include a climbing wall, bounce houses, rides, and games. Tickets must be purchased for the attractions, however, you can also purchase wristbands for the entire day for $10.
If you like games of chance, you can try your luck at the Bavarian Prize Wheel. And it wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest without German polka music. The zany Chardon Polka Band will perform Friday, while the wildly popular Klaberheads, a group formed more than 85 years ago by a German immigrant, will handle Saturday’s festivities.
WANT TO SAVE A FEW BUCKS?
All those hours of driving your kids to and from their various sports practices and games can pay off for you now while you await an athletic scholarship offer. Organizers are recognizing your sacrifice and giving your family a break.
“We’re doing a special promotion this year on Saturday. If a kid comes in a team uniform before 2 p.m., his entire family gets in for free,” Simmons explained.
With so much to offer, the young Springboro Oktoberfest will most assuredly be a Dayton-area tradition for years to come.