The Daily Illini

Oktoberfest benefits local community

By Abby Paeth, Contributing Writer

Break out your Lederhosen and Dirndl because on Saturday, the third annual Oktoberfest is coming to Champaign.

Held by the Developmental Services Center, or DSC, Oktoberfest is a fundraiser to support the center’s purpose of helping local individuals with disabilities. Located at the Orpheum Children’s Museum in Champaign, all proceeds will be donated to the DSC, and the food and beer vendors will donate a portion of their proceeds as well. Last year, the event raised about $40,000. This year’s fundraising goal is $60,000.

The event will kick off with polka lessons taught by Regent Ballroom. Three German polka bands will play, including the “Die Musikmeisters,” “The Polkaholics” and “The Bolzen Beer Band.”

“The first band plays from 4 until 8, so really up until 8 o’clock it’s very, very family friendly,” said Janice McAteer, director of development at DSC.

All participants are encouraged to wear traditional German attire, like Dirndl, a dress with a bodice and full skirt for women, and Lederhosen, leather shorts and suspenders for men.

Dallas & Company, a costume shop in downtown Champaign, carries an array of German attire, and currently has a table set up specifically for Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest also gives local businesses a chance to promote their product. McAteer said all the money is raised in the community and remains local.

Festival-goers can enjoy authentic German fare from Champaign restaurants like Chester’s BBQ, White Horse Inn and Destihl.

Champaign bakery Cream and Flutter will also sell Lebkuchen- traditional German gingerbread cookies, cut into the shape of a heart and made into necklaces.

And a huge aspect of Oktoberfest is, of course, the beer, which will be provided by The Blind Pig, JT Walker’s, Triptych and Destihl. Authentic German beer will also be imported through Champaign’s Orange and Blue Distributing and Marketplace Selections in Peoria.

Danielle Komsky, senior in LAS, said she is planning on attending Oktoberfest.

“I just like trying different brands, different companies, different styles and just seeing if I like it and seeing how they are different from everything else,” Komsky said.

While Oktoberfest is meant to be family-friendly, the later portion of the night gets slightly more rowdy and less child-friendly, McAteer said, especially when The Bolzen Beer Band performs.

“Early on, it’s a lot of families and a lot of Germans that are in the community, especially folks that may be a little bit older, that want to come out for that real authentic traditional German experience,” she explained. “Some of those folks will hang around, but then halfway through “The Polkaholics,” we start getting the younger crowd,” she said.

Oktoberfest is on Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight at the Orpheum Children’s Museum. There is a $5 entry fee.

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