What started in earnest as a good idea by a handful of people has turned into arguably the fastest growing Oktoberfest celebration in the Miami Valley.
Oktoberfest Springboro, hosted by the Springboro United Church of Christ, returns this weekend and has grown in leaps and bounds in its seven short years of existence.
“In our first year, we offered six beers and had about 2,500 people in attendance. This year, we'll have 42 beers and are expecting between 7,000 and 8,000 people,” said the event’s Beer and Wine Coordinator Randy Simmons.
The celebrated festival has all you’d want from a German festival — from food to beer, to fun.
Though some may disagree, Oktoberfest isn't all about beer and food. There's plenty of music, dancing and other fun events planned for Oktoberfest Springboro 2019.
The event will kick off with opening ceremonies Friday at 6 p.m. followed by a test of muscle and mentality shortly thereafter in the form of a steinholding contest.
This is not just some podunk backyard steinholding contest. No sir. This is a steinholding contest sanctioned by the United States Steinholding Association.
Saturday's events include a 5K race, a kid's fun walk, wiener dog races, a wine tasting, a continuation of the steinholding contest and more.
Here are six reasons you should head to Oktoberfest Springboro this year:
1. THE BEERS/BIERS
Oktoberfest Springboro's organizers have worked diligently to focus primarily on offering brews made from authentic German recipes, including well knowns like Paulaner and Ayinger while reaching further back to bring you offerings from the likes of Brauhaus Riegele and others.
This event has continued to involve local breweries as well.
“We have 16 local German craft beers from breweries in the Dayton and Cincinnati area,” Simmons said.
Domestic beers, ciders and a wine garden – featuring both bottled and draft wine – will also be available. A full listing of beer and wine selections are available on the Oktoberfest Springboro's Umtappd page.
Saturday features a beer tasting, which is separately ticketed, and includes food and six beers for a very reasonable $18. “That's the deal of the century,” proclaimed Simmons.
2. THE FOOD
While beer is considered food, and may be the top priority for many Oktoberfest fans, don't go sleeping on the schnitzel.
You could be satisfied with the traditional German potato salad, any of the nine varieties of wurst or the intriguing German sundae (hint: no ice cream is involved), but there's no shortage of grub at this year's event.
Authentic German dinners will be served including Chicken Goulash, Schnitzel, Jagerschnitzel, Roasted Chicken, Two Bratwurst, Cabbage Rolls, Schweinebraten. With over 10 varieties of German Wurst, dozens of desserts and traditional side dishes, you’ll feel like you’re right in Deutschland.
Dinners are offered inside the church and come with a plethora of options — all of which can be viewed on Oktoberfest Springboro's official website.
3. WIENER DOG RACE
Beyond beer and food, there’s much merriment to be had. Cue the wiener dog race. On Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m., cheer on the dachshunds as they run their short legs across a dedicated track. The registration deadline has passed, but you can still watch. Prizes will be given out for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
What was once confined to the back lot of the Springboro United Church of Christ has taken over the Mill Street and a portion of the a nearby school. It's been a labor of love for Simmons and his fellow organizers, but they know they'd still be small German potato salad without their community.
“We have to thank everyone for their continued support — especially Springboro Public Schools for helping us put this on every year. We've also been able to get other organizations to volunteer their time ,” he said.
Oktoberfest Springboro also shows its appreciation by donating more than 30 percent of the proceeds back into the community through local charitable organizations, according to Simmons.
Proceeds from the festival will be used to help local charities in supporting those in need. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Franklin Food Pantry, Hope House Mission, Cincinnati Shriners Hospitals for Children, Springboro Community Assistance Center and Military Order of the Purple Heart.
5. HOT DOG EATING CONTEST
Joey Chestnut who? Open to children of all ages, this free-to-enter contest will test the strength of competitors stomachs. How many hot dogs can you eat? Prizes to be awarded. Contest is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
6. BEARD CONTEST
Think your facial hair is impressive? The Thomas Stiver Memorial Beard Contest at 6 p.m. Saturday will be the judge of that. This contest is free to enter and prizes will be awarded.
WANT TO GO?
What: Oktoberfest Springboro
Where: Springboro United Church of Christ, 5 W. Mill St.
When: Sept. 6-7, 2019. Open 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $3 per guest. Admission is free to active military with ID and kids 12 and under.