GALION — The Galion Oktoberfest will return to uptown Galion this September with some of the familiar things from years, past along with some new events to look forward to.
It is scheduled Sept. 26-28 in the downtown area.
With longtime Oktoberfest planner Kent Gimble stepping aside, the annual event did not take place in 2018, much to the dismay of regular attenders. Thankfully, a new committee is stepping up to take over and move the event forward with plans scheduled for 2019.
Committee members Travis Wolford, Jim Hedges and others have been meeting monthly in order to reorganize and make plans to bring back the festival.
“Kent did a great job on his own in planning the Oktoberfest for many years,” said Wolford. “He has also been a help to us in small ways and we are so thankful.”
According to Wolford, the festival will be different than in years before.
“We are making changes,” Wolford said.
One major change is to only have one stage for performances and activities. Previously, there have been as many as three stages set up at different locations across uptown. And while uptown clubs or businesses may still offer their own beer garden(s), there will only be one main beer garden, located close to the stage on the square.
“Our hope is that by having all events consolidated to one stage, it will help give a more community feel to the festival,” Wolford said. “Organizing and executing the event with a committee involved has definitely created a much more diverse approach.”
As far as the entertainment line-up, the plans are still on-going. Thursday night looks to be made up of local bands who will be familiar to many from the Galion area. Friday and Saturday evenings entertainment is currently planned to be headlined by tribute bands of a larger fan base.
Another new addition to the Oktoberfest in 2019 will be a craft and vendor tent located on Columbus Street. Currently the committee is planning to allow for ten by ten foot spaces, but no price has been determined.
“We just posted the information about the crafter’s tent on social media last week, and the response in that short amount of time has been more than we could have expected,” Wolford said.
In keeping with the format of moving in a family-friendly direction, new possibilities include a pie eating contest, a costume contest, and a kids pedal tractor pull, as well as a 5K event for locals who are looking to reach a fall fitness goal.
Also, many food vendors from the past are all ready committed to return in 2019.
“Many contacted us as soon as they were told that we were bringing the event back to Galion,” said Wolford. “They have always done so well at the previous Oktoberfests, that they were happy to get us back on their schedules.”
Rides will also make a return to the Oktoberfest. The same company that operated the rides in 2017 will be back this year
While many things are still in development, Wolford is excited about the planning and everything that lies ahead to get the Galion Oktoberfest back up and running for the years to come.
“We are still working on sponsorships, and nailing down many of the specifics, but we have a great group of volunteers who are working hard to get this going again,” he said. “The City of Galion has been awesome in supporting us as well.”