ANDERSON – Think polka music, brats, beer, and … art. The Anderson Center for the Arts brings Oktoberfest to downtown Anderson on Thursday for its 16th annual event. The popular street festival capitalizes on a German theme to deliver food, fun, entertainment and more.
Pretzels take on a whole new dimension this year at the center’s Oktoberfest.
“For the first time ever, we’re going to have a Pretzel Contest – kind of a triathlon of pretzels,” said Deborah Stapleton, director of Anderson Center for the Arts. “I just think it’s a hoot …. It’s something fun that people can participate in.”
Yes, expect teams of three to be stacking pretzels, tossing them for the pretzel cornhole tournament, and toting them in the pretzel relay. There will be three rounds of pretzel competitions with the first one set for 4:30 p.m.
“I’m so excited about it because it’s fun and different,” Stapleton said as she laughed.
Also new to the festival this year is a book booth and a boutique inside the center, both with gently used items to browse and to buy starting at 11 a.m. Doors open for Casserole Kitchen sales at 11 a.m. as well. These are frozen homemade dishes that can be purchased for use in your own home when the mood suits.
Food is a big part of the day’s activities. Brats play a starring role during both lunch and dinner. The latter includes sauerkraut, German potato salad, and maybe a slice of Black Forest Cake for dessert. The First Episcopal Church will also be serving up its famous strawberry shortcake. Wander into the biergarten for beer and wine.
All throughout the event, the strains of German music will waft, with a disc jockey keeping the polkas coming.
“People love to listen to it and dance,” said Stapleton. “Some people come and dance out in the middle of the street.”
Other favorite attractions include the circa 1800’s cider press.
“People put apples in the top of the press, then crank the press,” said Stapleton. “It’s the freshest cider anybody could have.”
Look for the two-handled saw and the logs ripe for the cutting out on the street. The attraction is a take on the German wedding tradition in which the newly married couple tackles some log-sawing right after saying their I-dos.
There’s plenty of action for the kids with a bouncy house, and kids games. Browse the craft, food and heritage booths, and expect to see artists demonstrating their crafts like pottery, jewelry making and painting. Don’t be surprised if you bump into the roving magician out to delight and amaze as he wanders through the crowds.
Although last year’s Oktoberfest took a big hit due to an untimely “torrential downpour,” the street party usually draws about 1,500 people to the center.
“As a community, it started as helping revitalize downtown,” said Stapleton. Now, the event promotes the arts while raising funds to pay the bills at the historic Carnegie Building that now houses the center. “It brings people out and they have a good time.”
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If you goWhat: Oktoberfest Street Festival to benefit The Anderson Center for the Arts Where: Anderson Center for the Arts, 32 W. 10th St., Anderson When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. More info: Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the center. $6 gets you a brat, potato chips, cookie and a soft drink. From 4 to 8 p.m., dinner is available for $8 including a brat with sauerkraut, side dish, dessert and a soft drink. Children's dinners include a hot dog or brat, chips, cookie and a soft drink for $5. Check out www.andersonart.org or call 649-1248 for more info or to sign up for the pretzel competition.