October is almost here which means the City of Newberry’s 17th annual Oktoberfest event is just around the corner – a time to celebrate Newberry’s German heritage by indulging in authentic German cuisine, music and arts and crafts vendors in downtown Newberry!
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in all of downtown’s historic district, approximately eight city blocks.
Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events manager for the city said the event will have 17 food vendors this year, many of whom are return visitors. Chick-fil-A, a sponsor for the event will also be located in Memorial Park area serving food and providing food for the volunteers.
As part of Oktoberfest there will be two Biergartens. The official Biergarten will be located in front of Community Hall downtown there they will be selling a variety of eight German beers in commemorative cups, Kopp said. The charitable Biergarten, being run by the Newberry Jaycees group will be located in Memorial Park and serving both German and domestic beers. All profits from this Biergarten will go towards the group’s local children’s fund which supports activities such as their Christmas shopping spree for children.
“They have a fund they keep stocked year-round to use for children’s services, so we’re excited to have them this year,” Kopp said.
If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, there will be 30 different vendors lining Main Street this year selling a variety of items, all handmade or homemade. There will be several soap and lotion vendors, Kopp said as well as a variety of different types of artwork, painting, local plants, jewelry and more.
Many local vendors can be found in the arts and crafts section, Kopp said, one being Alisha Holbrook with Carolina Pride Pastures. TC Bowers out of Prosperity will have custom items from his store as well as Megan Setzler with her booth entitled “The Farmers’ Wife Sweets and Eats” that will have homemade breads, cinnamon rolls and other goodies. Kopp said Setzler sold this summer at the Newberry Farmer’s Market. Also out of Prosperity, Charlie and Laura Dukes will sell their recycled metal items and unique gifts.
Kayla Sansom with Carolina Soapworks, that Kopp said had been selling across the state over the years would also be at Oktoberfest.
“I’m very excited about all of our vendors, I think they are going to be awesome,” Kopp said. “It’s a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.”
Community Corner can also be found along Main Street that Saturday to include 14 different groups from churches, non-profit organizations, political groups and health/wellness organizations.
The area will also house the pet adoptions though the Newberry Humane Society and the Newberry County Animal Shelter.
Komatsu Tractor can also be found in this area, Kopp said for children to take pictures with, climb into, etc.
Kopp said this year, they really revamped Kindertown with lots of options for families. The city worked with Palmetto Amusements to bring back the carousel for both children and adults to enjoy. A new addition this year will include a rock wall, a 50-foot obstacle course and larger inflatable slide. There will also be a large bounce house this year and the “human bowling” course will also return to Kindertown.
A balloon artist will be in the area to make complimentary balloons for children and the addition of free facing painting has also been added to this area, Kopp said.
The Lowe’s craft tent will also be back to allow children to create fun projects for free in this area. Kopp said in the past they have brought supplies to build birdhouses with children.
Also in Kindertown, the Newberry Arts Center will have fun cutouts that visitors can pose with to take photos. These will be at the perfect height for children, Kopp said but that adults could stoop down to join in on the fun as well. The children’s organ and Pelican’s SnoBalls will also be in this area.
Kindertown is sponsored by Newberry County Memorial Hospital and they will be there with children’s activities geared towards a healthy lifestyle.
Vendors will also be in this area selling a variety of items geared towards children and children’s gifts
On College Street, just outside of Kindertown is where fire safety, police and EMS will be located. The Newberry Fire Department will have their fire safety house on display for families to go through. This is also where the first aid station, lost item or lost child area will be for those who need assistance.
Kopp said all of the event staff’s radios will be linked together so that problems or issues can easily be reported.
Nearby, the Ritz Theater will be holding several free puppet shows by the Columbia Marionette Theater. Showtimes will be 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Before the shows, Kopp said they usually have some of their puppets out in the street showing visitors exactly how they work.
“It’s a cute and cool opportunity to get your kids to see a really unique storytelling form,” Kopp said.
Entertainment and More
The free, live music stage, known as Rocktoberfest will have entertainment all day in Memorial Park (corner of Main and Nance Streets) starting at 10:30 a.m. with the Three Dot Polka Band playing traditional Polka music.
At noon, Kopp said the judging will occur for the traditional German dress contest in three categories – Women’s Traditional Dress, Men’s Traditional Dress and children (up to age 16). There will be no fee to enter, but Kopp invites visitors to meet at the stage during this time and judging will be based on applause from the audience. Winners will receive a free Oktoberfest t-shirt.
“We call it the traditional German dress contest, but we keep that up to the interpretation of those that are entering,” Kopp said.
In the past, Kopp said they have had entries that were costumes bought from Amazon all the way up to authentic attire purchased in Germany.
At 1:30 p.m., Brytly will perform. Also known as Codi Lester, Brytly is from Newberry and is excited to be coming back to perform in her home town.
At 3:00 p.m., Kopp said a community favorite, The Caribbean Cowboys will be performing. Their style is beach music, Kopp said and they have performed in the past. Last but not least, at 4:45 p.m., the Reggie Sullivan Band will make their way to the stage. The community may recognize them from previous performances at Bar Figaro downtown.
When it comes to Rocktoberfest, Kopp said visitors are welcome to bring chairs to sit in while listening to bands. However, she asks they not be left there as people travel throughout the event. No tents will be allowed.
Several sponsors for Oktobefest have booths in the area near the stage, Kopp said and will have giveaways. More free face painting can also be found in this area. A full list of sponsors can be found on the event website, newberryoktoberfest.com and will be listed on the stage during the event.
Official Oktoberfest t-shirts, sponsored by the City Utilities Department will be set up in Memorial Park while supplies last. T-shirts will be selling for $10, long sleeve t-shirts for $15 and hoodies for $20. Cash only will be taken for these items during the event. Prior to the event, they will be for sale at the City’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at 1323 College Street by cash or check.
Beginning at 5 p.m., the Newberry Downtown Development Association will hold ‘Rock the Ritz’ in the Ritz Theater that includes bands Highjacked and Heartbreaker. This is a ticketed event, Kopp said with tickets for sale at the door or online now on the Newberry Opera House’s website.
At the corner of Harrington and McKibben Streets, the South Carolina Midlands Muscle and Classic Car Display will have their classic cars on display during the vent. Also with them in this area will be the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile available for photos for visitors.
Parking and Restrooms
A full map of the event area is now available at newberryoktobefest.com, Kopp said which also includes areas for free parking available to visitors. The map is available for download so that it is easily accessible.
Those that live and frequent downtown are asked to please have cars removed from the event area by 1 a.m. the day prior to the event. Street closures will begin at 4 a.m. on Saturday, October 6 and will run until 8 p.m. If cars still remain in the event area, Kopp said they will be towed. This also includes the Newberry County Courthouse parking lot.
“We don’t like having to do that, so we ask all to please plan in advance to have cars removed,” Kopp said.
There are many free parking areas surrounding the event area to include Friend Street, Harrington Street and spots at the Newberry County Library. If visitors are having problems finding parking spaces, a free shuttle, sponsored by Dominion Energy will be running on a loop all day beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Newberry Tractor’s Supply and running until 6:30 p.m. with the last pickup at the Newberry County Library.
Specifics on the shuttle bus can be found on the event website. Signs will also be out that day, Kopp said to help direct visitors to the right spot.
Handicapped accessible parking spaces are located around the 1300-1400 block of Main Street as well as at the Newberry County Library. The shuttle bus will also be accessible for those wishing to use that service.
Kopp reminds the community that golf carts are subject to the exact same laws and regulations as regular vehicles and they cannot drive through the event or be parked on sidewalks or side-streets leading into the festival area. Barricades also must be left open in the event of an emergency and vehicles nor golf carts should be parked there.
There will be three portable restroom stations within the event area and are marked on the map. For those not wanting to use the portable restrooms, Kopp said the Newberry Opera House had graciously offered to have their doors open for public restroom use.
Lifebridge, located at 1510 Main Street is offering a diaper changing station as well as a quiet place for mothers to nurse their children.
“We’re grateful that they’re offering that because that’s something we haven’t had before,” Kopp said.
Also on Main Street the Newberry Arts Center will have more photo booths (aside from those in Kindertown) available as well as free activities for all ages. Student and professional artwork will also be for sale that day.
While there will be pet adoptions ongoing throughout the event, Kopp asks patrons to please leave their pets at home. Service animals are allowed into the event area, but staff asks that non-working dogs/pets please remain at home for their safety.
“It is not banned from the event, but there will be high volumes of traffic and we don’t want to run the risk of them being stepped on or hurt because of the amount of people,” Kopp said.
If visitors still choose to bring their pets, Kopp asks that they be leashed and muzzled as needed. There will not be doggie bags on site and pet-owners are responsible for cleaning up after their own pet.
“We want everyone to have a safe, fun time and enjoy themselves,” Kopp said.
Kopp said that volunteers could always be used at the event, especially between the critical hours of 6:30 until 9:30 a.m. to welcome vendors and help them get to their spots. Volunteers will receive a free Chick-fil-A sandwich and water for lunch and have access to the VIP area typically reserved for sponsors and entertainers inside of the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center.
Those interested in volunteering their time in any way are encouraged to contact the City’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at 803-321-1015.