Rain roared through the City of Kilgore’s Oktoberfest celebrations last year, and lead organizer Sonya Waters’ is ready to see the event in its full, eight-hour run Saturday.
She’s particularly eager for the day’s special fare.
Among a variety of food vendors at the free-to-attend event, “I’m very excited to have Kilgore College Culinary Arts students back again for the Bavarian Bites contest,” Waters said. With last year’s surprise surge of stormy weather, “Unfortunately, they only got about 45 minutes in before we had to cancel the event.
For visitors downtown Oct. 5, for just $1 per taste, beginning at 3 p.m. “They can try all the different hors d’oeuvres the students have made, then they get to vote for their favorite dish.”
The people’s choice winner will be announced midway through the overall German-themed event, about 5 p.m.
With main events getting rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday, the ceremonial opening and tapping of the keg is set for 1:15 p.m. before an appearance by the Bier Nutz oompah band at 1:25, a polka dance and lesson at 1:45 p.m. from the Kilgore High School Co-Ed Dance class and a Chicken Dance Competition set for 2 p.m.
Other musical entertainment includes Covenant Olatunde, performing live music from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on E. Main Street, and local favorites The Social Club playing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Bier Nutz will also perform a second set of traditional tunes at 3 p.m.
Free ‘Kids Zone’ activities like bumper cars, sports challenges, a bounce house, crafts and more run 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The day’s two Bier Stein Holding Competitions are 2:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. A second polka dance demonstration and lesson is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. followed by a Chicken Dance Round 2, and the Texas Rhythm Cloggers perform at 4:15 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to come in lederhosen and dirndl, Waters said, with Everything That Blings presenting a Best Dressed Competition at 5:15 p.m.
Despite its weather-shortened hours, last year’s event saw a lot of activity in a short time.
With that in mind, “It’s been extremely difficult to prepare for the event,” Waters said, struggling to guess how many attendees will be in town Saturday. There’ll be plenty to eat and drink, either way, between vendors (“I don’t think we’re going to run out of food.”), the Reel Beer Garden (“They’ll have new commemorative steins for sale as well as beer and hard cider for those who are of drinking age.) and downtown’s strong array of restaurants and businesses.