Oompah! Oktoberfest In Cole Camp Is A Hit

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The 18th Annual Oktoberfest was held in Cole Camp on Saturday, October 13, with a warm reception, but cold weather.  About 300 people attended, with the majority of participants in the morning hours when the temperatures were mildest.
Street vendors opened for business at 9 AM, and events included a farmers market, JC Gun Show, old steam engines display, traditional beer and food, German music, games, Monarch Butterfly Festival, the Annual Jim Maxwell Bicycle Show, and the 8th Annual Prairie Day.  New this year was the performance of the band, St. Louis Express, and four contests with prizes for the winners from local businesses.
“Our new band was wonderful,” said Sam Cole, who chaired Oktoberfest. “And our contests included ‘Hold Your Beer’ to see who could hold a mug of cold beer the longest without getting tired, and lowering the arm holding the mug. There was also a Brat Toss, Washer Toss, and a Chicken Dance Standoff. We started off the day with a good crowd of people visiting the vendor booths. The food and beer were very good, but the weather caused the crowd to thin out during the afternoon. The lady doing the vocals with the band had a scarf around her neck, and was wearing gloves to stay warm, and we actually shut down Oktoberfest a little early.
Oktoberfest is one of the highlights of fall in Benton County. The German October event has been hosted by the City of Cole Camp since 2001, and hundreds of participants take part every year. Prairie Day is celebrated in conjunction with Oktoberfest, but with an agenda of its own, and many of its activities taking place at Dr. Wayne Morton’s prairie, located near Cole Camp.
“Out committee will take a break from planning next year’s Oktoberfest for a little while, although we have already booked next year’s band,” said Cole. “We are now planning for Cole Camp’s Christbaumfest Craft Show, November 17, and Christkindlmarket on the first Friday in December.”