By Jacob Clemens
For the Sidney Daily News
MINSTER – Returning for its 49th edition, Minster Oktoberfest will give attendees a chance to celebrate local German culture through ethnic cuisine, beer, art, and entertainment from Friday, Sept. 29, through to Sunday, Oct. 1.
This year’s Grand Marshal will be Mary P. Oldiges, known for her work as founder of the Minster Historical Society, religious education teacher, women’s choir member, and a lifelong Minster resident. She was awarded the honor on Aug. 22 in a ceremony at the Wooden Shoe Inn in Minster and will be honored again during this year’s Opening Ceremonies. For more about Mary and her accomplishments, visit here.
The organizers of Minster Oktoberfest recognize the significance of their work. “Our German heritage is our identity,” Renee Metz said. “Minster is extremely fortunate to be able to have a very rich German heritage and understand its importance, as many other towns do not. In Minster, the history, heritage, and identity define and shapes its community pride.”
Stefanie Kohne notices the “hardworking, faith filled, community driven people” of Minster. “All of those traits were passed onto us from our families, many of whom can be traced back to our German ancestors. The Oktoberfest gives us the opportunity to celebrate those traits…”
With that said, let’s take a look at how this small village will celebrate its cherished ancestry.
Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday the Button Haus souvenir shop, as well as food and beer stands will open for the weekend. This year, 18 different organizations will contribute their own distinct culinary experience to the celebration. Additionally, all the stands essentially act as fundraisers, according to organizers. All proceeds from food and beverage sales will be directed towards each organization’s local efforts.
Also beginning at 6 p.m., arts & crafts booths will open for the first time during the weekend on Lincoln Drive at the north end of the park until 10 p.m. Organizer Stacie Lamm tells potential shoppers to expect a plethora of options, including “bourbon barrels, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, candles, dip mixes, BBQ sauces, clothing, hair accessories, hand painted signs, German apparel, steins and much more.” Attendees will surely find something to commemorate the event.
“Minsterfest” is known for its wide range of live music, and this iteration will be no different. Kicking off the weekend of performances will be Youngstown, Ohio-based polka and rock group Zolka’s at the gazebo from 6-10 p.m. At Der Biergarten, Irish folk and blues performer Jim McGowen continues his trip through Ohio with a show from 7-11:30 p.m. The Reatles, a notable Beatles cover band, will bring attendees at the Heritage Beer Garden back to the ’60s from 8-11:30 p.m. Capping off the night will be Sidney, Ohio-based band Karma’s Pawn at the Spass Platz from 8-11:30 p.m., who will perform a mix of “high-energy” rock covers and dance songs.
Kicking the tires for Saturday will be the annual Minster Car Show at the Community Lanes Bowling Alley. From 9-11 a.m., register to show off your ride in front of almost 80,000 festival attendees. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., judges will grade all entrants and select the top 25 to be honored in the Awards Ceremony at 1:00 p.m.
At 10 a.m., 20 children will compete in the Little Miss Oktoberfest Contest at Minster’s Knights of Columbus Hall.
After that, the arts & crafts booths will reopen from 10 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Food and beer stands open for the day at 11 a.m.
The afternoon will begin with the traditional Opening Ceremonies at the Gazebo at noon. This year’s grand marshal, Mary Oldiges, will be recognized alongside the committee members who put this celebration together. An opening prayer, flag-raising, and singing of the national anthem will precede an Oktoberfest toast to commemorate the weekend.
The Miss Oktoberfest Contest will begin at 12:30 p.m. Entrants will dress in a traditional German Dirndl to compete to be this year’s Miss Oktoberfest Queen and be a part of the Oktoberfest parade. The Homebrew Competition Awards will be handed out at the Spass Platz immediately following the opening ceremonies.
Live performances will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the Cincinnati Jagdhorndblassergruppe’s “Strolling Performances through the Park.” The Queen City will have representation at the gazebo as well when the Schnapps Band performs their blend of German/American tunes at 1:00 p.m.
The always-exhilarating Beer Tray Relay begins at 2 p.m. when teams of four will balance glasses of beer on a tray while navigating a tricky obstacle course. Dianne Hart will entertain the less competitive drinkers with her acoustic guitar starting at the same time over at the Spass Platz.
Hamilton, Ohio-based band The Kläberheads will perform their unique mix of polka, rock n’ roll, and crowd suggestions at the Spass Platz from 3:30-7 p.m.
Immediately following the Beer Tray Relay will be the Jug Hoist contest at roughly 4:00 p.m., where 20 men and women will compete in a war of attrition to see who can hold a jug of beer for the longest time. No gloves…
A “Celebration Mass of our German Heritage” will commence at St. Augustine Church from 4:00 to 6 p.m. Just before then at 3:30 p.m., the “Patriotic Rosary” will take place.
The Fest Meisters will perform at the Gazebo from 6-10:30 p.m. Brothers in Law will perform rock classics at Der Biergarten from 7-11:30 p.m. Ending the night will be Zach & Steve Rosenbeck at the Heritage Beer Garden, and the North Star, Ohio natives Hammer Jockeys at the Spass Platz, both from 8-11:30 p.m. Food and beer stands will close for the night at 11:59 p.m.
Another Celebration Mass of our German Heritage will begin Sunday morning at St. Augustine Church at 8 a.m.
At 9:30 a.m., the annual Oktoberfest 10K Run will begin at Minster High School, with awards being given out at the Spass Platz. As part of the Run Ohio Grand Prix Series, the competition will be fierce, and top finishers will be given generous prize money. Amounts can be found on their website.
Food and Beer stands open for the last time at 11 a.m. Arts & Crafts booths will remain open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Dean & Andy will bring their genre of guitar and piano to Der Biergarten from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The famous Minster Oktoberfest Parade will start its trek at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The theme this year is labeled “Building on our Traditions” and will run the same route per usual, starting at the corner of Fourth and Cleveland Streets, running east down Fourth Street, then north up Main Street, finally ending in front of Minster High School on Seventh Street. Prizes will be given out for the top floats.
After the parade, a full house of performers will cap off the festival.
From 3:30-6:30 p.m., the Fest Meisters make another appearance at the gazebo. Also at 3:30 p.m., The Kläberheads will give an encore at the Spass Platz until 8 p.m. St. Henry, Ohio native Henry Demange will take the stage at Der Biergarten from 4-8 p.m. Kyle Koesters will end the night at the Heritage Beer Garden from 4-8 p.m.
Following the performances, the 49th annual Minster Oktoberfest will come to a finish at 8 p.m. Sunday evening.
Laura Roetgerman, of the Opening Ceremonies committee, ended her comments with this, “Continuing with the tradition of the Minster Oktoberfest for 49 years now has allowed us to showcase our German ancestry and culture, honor our roots, bring our community together, and provides an enjoyable experience for all who attend. Sharing in the joy and excitement of [it] creates lasting memories and strengthens our community bonds.”