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Oktoberfest adds vendors, attractions
Sunday, September 30, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
This year’s Oktoberfest is shaping up to be bigger than last year.
The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in uptown Martinsville.
It will feature performances by a 32-person band and dance group known as The Little German Band, the Martinsville High School jazz band, the Boys & Girls Club Steel Drum Band, Celthix and the Triad Highlanders Bagpipe and Drum Corp., according to Laura Bowles, executive director of Martinsville Uptown.
Those performances will be at a stage at the Big Chair, she said.
“Little Germany” will be set up in the Bridge Street parking lot. It will include a stage where The Little German Band will perform, a bounce house, craft beer garden, food court and seating area, she said.
There will be German and American food available in the food court with 15 tables set up where people can sit down and eat, she added.
A German food specialist is coming from Maryland to prepare such foods as bratwurst, potato pancakes and halupkies, Bowles said.
In addition to the inflatables for children in the Bridge Street parking lot, there will be inflatables off Main Street provided by King Kidz Fun Rentals and a petting zoo by Infinity Acres.
The SPCA’s Haunted House located on Church Street in the former social services building will have different shows suitable for all ages. There will be balloon animals provided by Checkered Pig and several face painting booths, according to a news release.
Carnival food vendors will offer candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, cake pops and funnel cakes, Bowles said.
More than 200 vendors from five states will offer all types of merchandise from clothing and personal accessories to arts and crafts, hand-turned wood products, paintings, baked goods, jewelry, stained glass, home accents, candles, cookbooks, custom firepits and ATVs.
Last year, the festival had 150 vendors. Over the past year, Bowles said she has traveled to several carnivals and street fairs to recruit more vendors for this year’s event, she said.
Since more vendors mean more space, there is a new footprint in uptown for the event. This year it will start on Church Street at the far corner of Little Germany close to the Municipal Building, run on both sides of the street down to Lester Street (at the corner with BB&T, SunTrust and Bank of America), have vendors set up on both sides of Lester Street, then back up both sides of Main Street to the far corner of Little Germany, the release said.
To eliminate any confusion, flyers will be handed out to attendees at both ends of Church and Main Streets. The flyers will include a map on one side and a list of times and locations of all the performances on the other side, she said.
Last year, an estimated 10,000 people attended the festival, and Bowles hopes that more people attend this year. She feels confident that attendance will be up because Martinsville Uptown expanded its marketing area outside of the Martinsville area to include Danville, Franklin and Patrick counties, and the Eden and Reidsville, N.C. areas, Bowles said.
“We are trying to bring outside dollars into our community,” she added.
Martinsville Uptown received a marketing grant of $1,000 from the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. Tourism Division for this year’s festival, which matches the money that Martinsville Uptown is spending to market the event, Bowles said.
Oktoberfest is “a great opportunity to come and see what fantastic stores we have (in uptown) ... and a way to show Martinsville that uptown is a fun place to spend an afternoon,” Bowles said.
This is the 33rd year of Oktoberfest in Martinsville and the second year it is being sponsored by Martinsville Uptown. Also sponsoring the event this year are Samuel Adams (distributed by Lawrence Distributing), the EDC, Debbie Staffing, Hooker Furniture, Bassett Furniture Service, Bassett Mirror, Subway and HD Web Studio, according to Bowles.