With the official end of the summer season less than two weeks away, volunteers at the Champaign County Historical Society (CCHS) are gearing up to help kick off the fall season by hosting its 44th annual Oktoberfest on the grounds of the society’s museum at 809 East Lawn Ave. in Urbana.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2. Admission is $2 per person with children 10 and under admitted free with a paying adult.
While new vendors continue to come on board daily, Oktoberfest Steering Committee member Sally Johnson confirmed dozens of exhibitors from Champaign County will be in attendance along with countless other vendors from seven counties throughout the area.
As has become the custom over the past four decades, eventgoers to this year’s Oktoberfest will be able to purchase a wide selection of handmade and homegrown items including paintings, wood-crafted art, fashion accessories (handbags, jewelry, scarves, etc.), clothing, home décor and pottery.
A handful of exhibitors will provide patrons with an up-close look at what goes into perfecting particular crafts with live demonstrations. These individuals include longtime event participant Don Richardson (blacksmith), Jane Stimmel (specialist in caning for chairs and other uses), Mike Collier (broom craftsman), Deborah Steinmetz (quick-sketch portrait artist) and Susan Millice, who will be spinning alpaca yarn.
Food and entertainment
For eventgoers who happen to work up an appetite while venturing around the museum grounds, the CCHS has lined up several local businesses that will be offering an array of items from snacks to full meals.
Food establishments scheduled to be on hand include The Farmer’s Daughter, Hippie and the Farmer, and Marshall’s Kettle Corn.
New this year, Johnson said, will be two local food trucks – Old School Fine Foods and Yo Vinny’s Fish and Fries.
No Oktoberfest is complete without the traditional bratwurst and German-style potato salad meal. For the third year in a row, the meal will be prepared locally by The Farmer’s Daughter.
The entertainment schedule for Oktoberfest 2016 is as follows:
•Mary Pollock’s 1914 Wurlitzer 125 band organ – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
•Daniel Dye and the Miller Band – 1-2 p.m.
•Gary Salzgaber’s German-style oompah band – 2:30-3:30 p.m.
In addition to the musical entertainment, the Champaign County Library will be providing activities for children from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its booth.
Those in attendance can win various donated items along with a year membership to the CCHS during four scheduled drawings throughout the day. The contest box will be located inside the museum, which will be open to the public during the event.
As a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, the CCHS relies solely on membership dues and proceeds from Oktoberfest to operate, acquire new artifacts, and care for the items on display at the museum, which is open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In an attempt to bring in additional funding to increase the museum’s hours, hire an experienced museum director, and continue to preserve the county’s history, the CCHS Board of Trustees is seeking voter approval in November for a five-year, .3-mill levy.
Museum Curator Dick Virts said that during Oktoberfest, the CCHS will have a booth to hand out literature and answer questions concerning the upcoming levy.