Here's the scoop. Coming soon to the Riverfront Amphitheater at Riverfront Park in Alton, Illinois --- the RIVERBEND OKTOBERFEST --- and KARTOFFELFEST.
1) Riverbend Oktoberfest - is an ethnically German festival. A heritage event linking the past to the present.
2) Kartoffelfest - the Festival within a Festival.
So, what are these two events? Well, you can find out the details at the pages on http://www.riverbendoktoberfest.com/
There's more about the Kartoffelfest coming to that website soon, but for now there is a contest or two that cooks may want to enter --- it's not an event for professionals (although they can enter, too). What it will be featuring at this point is a contest for those who make POTATO PANCAKES (Kartoffelpuffer or Kartoffel Pfankuchen) or GERMAN POTATO SALAD recipes.
1) Oktoberfest is being brought to the Riverbend because of the rich history filled with European immigrants from the Germanic nations that moved into Madison County, as well as the surrounding counties of Jersey, Macoupin, Greene, St. Clair and Calhoun. Although German may have gone through numerous border changes over the past 500 years, those who came to the United States since the 1700s have long held festivals to connect them to their past. In fact, those who know the history of Oktoberfest in Munich know there's nothing like a true Oktoberfest party. Gemütlichkeit - or loosely translate a "festive cosiness" - is hard to say but east to feel at an Oktoberfest when the music is playing, the dancers are moving, and the food and drinks are being enjoyed with family and friends. The Riverbend Oktoberfest is a new event in 2011, but the ethnically German event with a distincly European flavor will once again be seen in Alton for the first time in decades. No --- there is no attack upon our local church festivals at St. Mary's or Resurrection --- it's just time to have a genuine Oktoberfest with German music and dance as one of the main features. It will be a winner for the future of our area --- showcasing the beauty of the Riverfront Amphitheater and the park itself as well as helping to evoke the emotions for older generations and stir a new interest for the younger generations.
2) Kartoffelfest - the Festival within a Festival. This is new to our area. Kartoffelfest can be almost anything at all involving the potato. There will be some children's games along with the recipe/cooking contests involving those who create kartoffelpuffer aka potato pancakes OR Kartoffelsalat aka German potato salad.
Here's the thing: this is a scoop if you read this blog. The formal announcement has not been made just yet --- but will be coming in the next couple of weeks.
You won't want to miss the "tapping of the first keg" event on Friday, September 30, 2011 at just after 5 pm (looking at 5:11 pm or so) --- there will be dignitaries and media, sponsors and lots of others who have been looking forward to the best new festival in the American Oktoberfest Region.
We will be sharing more with some of our media partners in the upcoming weeks --- and you'll be seeing much more on their pages as well as here and at News St. Louis.
One thing we all need is this: prayers for good weather. This is an outdoor event scheduled for a weekend when the weather is normally mild and dry --- but prayers will help. And pray for all of the workers who will be doing their part to make our part of the region look appealing and friendly. They'll be doing a great service to the Riverbend. And they have my personal thanks now, during the Riverbend Oktoberfest, and beyond.