Time to fest German-style
Oktoberfest brings polka, beer and games to downtown IM
IRON MOUNTAIN — Downtown Iron Mountain is where the action will be Saturday — hammerschlagen and beer stein holding competitions, anyone? — as Oktoberfest provides the chance to celebrate all things German.
The annual festival will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the parking lot near the downtown stage on the corner of East A and Iron Mountain streets.
Along with German food and drinks, Oktoberfest features musical entertainment beginning with the Johnson Bluegrass Band from 12:30 to 3 p.m., the Spotlight Polka Band from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the Live Wire Polka Band from 7:30 to 10:45 p.m., sponsored by BOSS Snowplow of Iron Mountain.
Kicking off the day before Oktoberfest will be the Iron Mountain Road and Trail Half-Marathon, beginning and ending at the Oktoberfest entrance. Race participants get a free pass into Oktoberfest.
Feedback from last year’s event led organizers to bring in a second polka band, work with Spiro’s restaurant to offer more German-style food and add eight Oktoberfest beers, “including two that are exclusive to our event,” said Paula Craven, Downtown Development Authority director.
Festmeister Mark Klossner returns to lead chants and songs throughout the event.
A children’s area will be set up with free face painting and balloon animals through Mischief and Magic, plus bounce houses from ACA Jumps.
Hammerschlagen, sponsored by Smith Metal Structures, and beer stein holding competitions are planned for the adults. Anyone age 21 and older can sign up online for three different heats of competition for $10.
Authentically German, hammerschlagen dates back to the first Oktoberfest in 1810. Players stick a nail in a tree stump or piece of wood and each person gets one swing with the hammer and then passes it on to the next player. The first person to get the nail flush with the wood wins the game.
The beer stein holding competition is one of strength and endurance, with each contestant holding a 1-liter stein of beer in front of them, at shoulder height, for as long as they can.
The championship round will be 6:30 p.m., followed at 6:45 by a new competition: Ms. Oktoberfest, in which three women compete in three categories — German clothing, beer identification and German pronunciation.
Anyone 21 or older can sign up to compete for the Ms. Oktoberfest crown by going online at downtownironmountain.com/oktoberfest17/.
Oktoberfest is sponsored by First National Bank & Trust, with proceeds to benefit the Iron Mountain DDA, which helps support economic development, historic preservation and the revitalization of the Iron Mountain downtown business district, Craven said.
“We are looking forward to having our city filled with the aroma of German food, lively music, laughter and camaraderie,” Craven said.
Wrist bands cost $8 at the Oktoberfest entrance. Ages 12 and younger are admitted free.