Gearing up for Oktemberfest in a new location
Following the tornado, the Oktemberfest board didn’t want to lose the annual festival despite the traditional location not being an option.
Dex Walker and a team of volunteers made leaps and bounds in planning and relocating the festival in the wake of the July 19 storm that devastated the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
For over 30 years, Oktemberfest has celebrated Marshalltown and its people against the scenic backdrop of autumn.
Because of construction at the Marshall County Courthouse lawn and various downtown road closures, Oktemberfest will take place at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds, 1308 E. Olive St., from Sept. 27-30. This year’s theme is “Marshalltown Strong.”
“It’s free admission, and the event will not be spread out or too hard to navigate at the fairgrounds,” Walker said.
The festivities will kick off Thursday evening with the crowning of the Little Miss and Mr. Oktemberfest. Youth may register between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. and the winners will be announced at 6 p.m. through a random drawing. Winners are asked to be available to ride in the Saturday morning parade.
Indoor and outdoor activities including a carnival, big wheel races and hot shot basketball will be offered. Activities continue on Friday, with the addition of a merchant and craft show, food vendors and live entertainment. The Classic Car Show will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“There will be no registration for the car show — just show up to the east gate at 5 p.m.,” Walker said. “New this year, we’re adding motorcycles to the contest. Awards will be given for automobiles 1970 and older, and 1971 and newer. The voters are the participants themselves, and we’re expecting 100 cars; a lot of people enjoy it.”
Live entertainment will include a performance by the Brazilian 2wins from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by music from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Saturday morning parade will travel down Olive Street from Seventh Avenue to 17th Avenue, ending at the entrance of the fairgrounds. This route is approximately the same length as previous Main Street parades were.
“It’s a nice clean street and it provides a good place for staging,” Walker said.
The board sent out flyers to apartment complexes along the parade route, stating: “Olive Street (from Third Avenue to 18th Avenue) be will closed beginning at 8:30 a.m. until noon — or whenever the parade ends. Also, Seventh Avenue (from Olive to Henry Drive) will be closed during the same hours. The use of this space, including the parking lot at First Baptist Church (FBC) and the High School parking lot will be hosting floats, bands, cars and people for the parade.”
There will also be a Kids Fun Run and Color Run, both beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“The Color Run will be a 1K this year, instead of a 5K. It costs $5 to register, and you can do that online or in person at the fairgrounds leading up,” Walker said.
A string of live musicians will perform throughout the day, kicking off with the Marshalltown’s Women’s Chorus from 1 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
“We’re really excited to have Saved by the 90’s this year, performing from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” he said.
Walker said that due to the tornado damage sustained to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the annual Noon Kiwanis pancake breakfast will not take place. Also canceled this year is the Motorcycle Rodeo, which usually takes place the Sunday of Oktemberfest. However, food vendors, beer sales and the carnival will still take place that day, from noon to 5 p.m.
Held in conjunction with Oktemberfest is the annual Prairie Heritage Day, which is slated for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Grimes Farm, sponsored by the Marshall County Conservation Board.
The event allows attendees to journey back in time to experience pioneer and prairie life. Activities include candle dipping, butter making, rope making, cross cut sawing, blacksmithing, antique power, cider pressing, 7th Calvary, flint knapping, spinning, barn building techniques and wood carving. New this year will be horse rides and kettle corn. Samples of fry bread, Dutch oven treats, butter and cider will be offered.
The demonstrations, as well as wagon rides to the observation tower, will run continuously throughout the afternoon. The Prairie Creek String Band is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. “Unconditional Surrender: A Visit with Ulysses S. Grant,” performed by Pete J. Grady, will start at 3 p.m. The winners for the Get Out and Recreate Giveaway will be announced at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit www.oktemberfest.com
Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at (641) 753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org