The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

September 30, 2013

Oktoberfest to celebrate 40 years

OTTUMWA — Everyone should be able to go to Oktoberfest.

Committee Chairman Jack Guiter said his group's members keep that philosophy in mind. So besides earning money for regional charities, the festival is meant to allow for anyone who can get there to have a good time.

"We're keeping the event a community event," Guiter said. "We want everyone to be able to attend. We work to keep prices reasonable, which is hard [because] our costs go up."

Guiter said it's not the Oktoberfest Committee's intention to "make a killing" on the famous brats and beer.

"Prices this year are pretty much the same as last year," he said.

Getting in the tent is free, listening to bands is free and so is lining up to watch the parade on Saturday.

While some traditions haven't been allowed to die, the committee tries to respond to visitor requests if it means trying something new and reasonable. Parents have told organizers that their youngest children, in some cases, don't want brats.

"This will be the first time Oktoberfest will offer hot dogs for sale all week," Guiter said.

They tried something new last year, too, and it worked out well, he said. They experimented with selling wine, especially Iowa label wines with a connection to fall or Oktoberfest.

"It was very successful. It went over very well," he said. "This year ... we'll add a couple more choices."

A couple new bands will perform, too, usually at night. But for the kind of band that marches, visitors will have to wake up pretty early Saturday morning. The parade usually draws miles and miles of school bands, floats and waving politicians weaving through downtown.

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