Autumn Thompson couldn't have asked for a better way to spend her last day of being 7 years old.
Thompson, who turns 8 on Friday, was crowned the Little Ms. Oktemberfest during the festival's opening Kids Night Thursday on the Marshall County Courthouse lawn.
Damion Castellanos, 7, was selected at Little Mr. Oktemberfest and the royal pair will ride in a convertible during Saturday's parade.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
A group of 3 to 5 year olds get started during the fun run Thursday night on Main Street during Kids Night of Oktemberfest.
"It feels pretty special," said Autumn's dad, Travis Thompson. "Friday is her birthday and it kind of all goes together."
Thompson is a second grade student at Anson Elementary School and was randomly selected from a group of 24 girls. Castellanos had to overcome even bigger odds as he was picked randomly from a group of 35 boys. He is a second grader at Woodbury Elementary School.
If he wants any advice on how to be Little Mr. Oktemberfest, he just has to ask his brother, Dylano, who won it two years ago.
"He was praying on stage because he wanted to get it just like his brother," said Damion's mom, Trisha Carranza.
The annual fun run drew more than 80 children, who got a kick out of sprinting down Main Street, and some took off so fast their shoes fell off.
Overall, the weather was nice for the opening of Marshalltown's annual festival. Children also had fun in the big wheel races, pony rides and getting balloon animals made for them by clowns. Oktemberfest Board President Marilee Weatherman said the festival got off to a great start.
"I love all the kids events and seeing all the different age groups have fun," Weatherman said.
The four-day festival continues Friday with the car show downtown at 5 p.m. and the annual spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The big parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, with several other events planned throughout the rest of the weekend.