October is almost here which means it’s time for the City of Newberry’s 18th annual Oktoberfest event in downtown Newberry! Celebrate Newberry’s German heritage by indulging in authentic German cuisine, music and arts and crafts vendors right in the heart of downtown!
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the downtown 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, with a good variety for all to enjoy.
Traveling from the east end, or upper end of Main Street, Kopp said the first attraction visitors will see is Komatsu that will be set up with their big wheel loader and forklift this year for children to take pictures with, climb into, etc.
Continuing down Main Street, the next section of the event area is Community Corner that includes 11 different groups such as churches, non-profit organizations and more.
“This section all represents different groups that are relatively affiliated with Newberry,” Kopp said.
In addition to Community Corner, the Newberry Humane Society and Newberry County Animal Shelter will house pet adoptions in the parking lot of Livingston’s Service Station.
“We advise visitors that are interested in potentially adopting a pet that adoptions are first come, first served,” Kopp said.
Should the weather be particularly warm, Kopp said that the animals may need to be taken back to cool down, however staff will be present with a book of pets to show that are still available as well as other information.
“It’s definitely worth a visit,” she said.
If visitors do adopt a pet during Oktoberfest, Kopp asks that they leave the pet with the vendors, enjoy the festival and then come back to pick up their pet prior to returning back home.
The Ritz Theater, 1511 Main Street will be doing free children’s puppet shows again this year, hosted by the Newberry Community Players. The shows will be at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. put on by the Columbia Marionette Theater. Kopp said this year’s show theme is entitled Space Station Harmony and more information on the show can be found at www.cmtpuppet.org/traveling-show.
For fans of arts and crafts, there will be 31 different vendors lining Main Street during this year’s Oktoberfest, Kopp said selling a variety of items, all handmade or homemade. There will be soap and lotion vendors as well as a variety of different types of artwork, paintings, local plants, jewelry and more.
More information on each arts and craft vendor can be found at newberryoktoberfest.com by clicking on Festival Facts and then on the link under “What can you expect to see at Oktoberfest?” The list of vendors for this year’s event are listed in alphabetical order.
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 Kayla Samsom with Carolina Soapworks that operates out of a store downtown. Also, out of Prosperity, Charlie and Laura Dukes will sell their recycled metal items and unique gifts.
Other locals include Jeri Lynn’s Farm with handspun yarns and wearables, Megan Achelpohl featuring her handmade pottery and the Newberry Master Gardeners.
Kopp said each year the Newberry Master Gardeners decorate the event area so visitors and residents may see them downtown the night prior to Oktoberfest putting out haybales on the corners of Main Street along with mums and other decorative items. The mums that can be found throughout the festival are also available for purchase, she said.
“They really help us out with making downtown look very festive,” Kopp said.
Kopp said many of the familiar favorites of guests are returning to Kindertown this year, located in the Newberry County Courthouse parking lot as in the past. The carousel rides, rock wall, an inflatable slide and 50-foot obstacle course can be found in Kindertown for guests to enjoy. A bounce house as well as the “human bowling” will also be returning.
Kopp said some of the activities, to include human bowling are not just for kids, but rather for those kids at heart that may want to try their hand at the game. When in doubt, she said just ask the attendants if adults can also play!
A balloon artist will be in the area to make complimentary balloons for children. Free face painting can also be found in this area.
The Lowe’s craft tent will be back this year to allow children to create fun projects for free in Kindertown. Kopp said in the past they have brought supplies to build birdhouses with children.
The carnival band organ is also in this area along with the opportunity to cool down with treats from Pelican’s Snoballs. While in Kindertown, visitors should be on the lookout, Kopp said for the accordion man, dressed in traditional German attire that will be entertaining the crowd with his music.
Kindertown is sponsored by Newberry County Memorial Hospital and they will be in the area with children’s activities geared toward a healthy lifestyle as well as information about services they offer for children such as their new pediatric therapy unit.
Vendors will also be in this area selling a variety of items geared towards children and children’s gifts.
Just outside of Kindertown, is where the first aid, fire safety, police and EMS will be located, Kopp said. The Newberry Fire Department will have their first safety house on display for families to go through as well as other educational materials. For those that need assistance throughout the event, Kopp said this is also where the first aid station, lost item or lost child area will be located.
Past Kindertown, Kopp said visitors will enter the food court as well as two Biergartens (more in additional article) to enjoy.
The Newberry Arts Center will be set up throughout the event offering pottery demonstrations that will be set up throughout the day both on a pottery wheel and hand building. There will be plenty of artwork for sale as the arts center’s vendors have been adding new inventory.
“If you’re new to the area or considering taking on a new hobby in the spring, it’s really worth paying them a visit to see what classes they have available,” Kopp said. “It’s also a great time to consider buying a gift certificate or class for a friend or family member.”
At the corner of Harrington and McKibben Streets, the South Carolina Midlands Muscle and Classic Car Display will be set up for visitors to view and grab a few photos. Kopp said while there was space for up to 30 cars in the area, the group plans to rotate cars throughout the day, so stopping by several times could provide visitors with the chance to see even more of a variety of classic and current muscle cars.
Heading back towards Memorial Park from the car display, the event ATM will be set up for those needing cash. While some of Oktoberfest vendors will be able to accept card payments, a lot will be cash only, Kopp said and asks visitors to be prepared.
Official Oktoberfest t-shirts will also be set up in Memorial Park while supplies last. Shirts this year are royal blue, Kopp said and mimic the Oktoberfest logo. 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, the former grey t-shirts used in previous years will be for sale at the City’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at 1323 College Street by cash or check. Sizing and styles are limited.
Entertainment and More
The free, live music stage, known as Rocktoberfest will have entertainment all day in Memorial Park starting at 10 a.m. with a Kerr Chainsaw Carving Demonstration that does wooden chainsaw carvings of all kinds and sizes. Following his demonstration, Kopp said he will be set up by the stage in a booth giving visitors the opportunity to view and purchase items for sale. More information on his work can be found at kerrchainsawcarving.com.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., the Three Dot Polka Band will be returning with traditional Polka music.
“They usually tell jokes in-between sets, and this is a time when we see a lot of families in the area as it’s a good time to potentially expose your children to something a little different,” Kopp said.
At 1 p.m. 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.
Following the costume contest, Retro Vertigo will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. playing 80s and 90s hits for the crowd. At 3 p.m., Grand Illusion will perform a variety of music followed by Rahsaan Barber and Everyday Magic at 4:45 p.m. Kopp said their music includes jazz, R&B and hip-hop influences and that they were excited to have this as a new addition to the Rocktoberfest stage this year.
A full map of the event area is available at newberryoktoberfest.com which includes areas for free parking available to visitors. The map is available for download, making it easily accessible prior to the event.
Those that live and frequent downtown area 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 5 and will run until 8 p.m. that evening. Cars still remaining in the event area, will be towed. This also includes the Newberry County Courthouse parking lot and parking lot on the corner of Harrington and McKibben Streets.
There are many free parking areas surrounding the event area to include Friend Street, Harrington Street and spots at the Newberry County Library. Should visitors have problems finding parking spaces, a free shuttle, provided by the Newberry County Council on Aging will be running on a loop all day. Shuttle stops include the Tractor Supply Parking lot, Newberry County Public Library, Newberry Police Department, Newberry College and by Kindertown in the Wells Fargo parking lot. The first shuttle pickup will be at Tractor Supply at 9:30 a.m. with the last shuttle pickup being at the Newberry County Public Library at 6:30 p.m.
Kopp says she highly recommends not going to the library at 6:30 p.m. expecting to be picked up, but rather recommends getting there within the last hour of the event to ensure that you are picked up promptly. Should visitors have trouble with the shuttle bus pickup, the main line at the Newberry County Council on Aging is 803-276-8266.
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 once again offering a diaper changing station as well as a quiet place for mothers to nurse their children.
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.
For more information on all things Newberry Oktoberfest, visit www.newberryoktoberfest.com.