Falls Lions, KPAL team up to stage Oktoberfest

Community festival slated Sept. 21-22 at River Park
by Jeff Pederson Sheboygan Falls News Editor

PAT MCCURDYPAT MCCURDYFor those looking to have a good time and support the community while doing so, River Park in Sheboygan Falls will be the place to be during the first weekend of fall.

The Sheboygan Falls Lions Club and Kohler Police Athletic League (KPAL) have joined forces to hold the first annual Oktoberfest event Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22.

Sheboygan Falls Lions Club Vice President and Oktoberfest Co-Chairperson Al Mayer said the event has been in the works for over a year.

“Ever since the Sheboygan Falls Jaycees disbanded and Falls Fest ended, we felt that it was important to bring back a large-scale community festival type of event that would have a little bit of something for everyone,” Mayer said. “We felt fall was a perfect time to do it. The weather is generally a little cooler and more comfortable that it is in July or August and we also wanted to draw on the Oktoberfest theme.”

Mayer said partnering with KPAL has helped to transform the event from an idea into a reality.

“The Lions Club has been thinking about this for quite a while, but we felt we needed more help to make it happen,” Mayer said. “Getting together with KPAL has been the key to it all. As partners, I'm confident we can make this into a special event year in and year out.”

Activity is slated to begin Friday, Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. with the highly popular Pat McCurdy Band slated to perform.

“We are really excited to have Pat McCurdy come to perform,” he said. “They are a really good draw and have a great following throughout the area. We think that will be a good way to kick off the weekend.

“We are hoping to have one more band on Friday night and five bands on Saturday, so there will be no lack of music.”

On Saturday, Sept. 22, Oktoberfest will run in conjunction with the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraising event for individuals coping with type 1 diabetes.

“We are also very excited to join with the JDRF organization for their Walk to Cure Diabetes event on Saturday,” Mayer said. “That event always draws a nice crowd of 500 to 800 people, so we think it will be of great benefit to both organizations to run our events simultaneously.

“In addition to the walk, we are hoping to put together some type of running event as well, which we hope can draw even more interest,” he said.

In addition to the live music and JDRF walk, Oktoberfest will feature a wide range of other activities, events and contests.

Inflatable activities for kids will be offered free of charge, along with other youth-oriented events.

“We want this to be a family event, so we have been focusing on offering things that everyone in the family can do,” KPAL member and Oktoberfest Co-Chair Jeff Romanoski said. “We will have all kinds of free inflatables for small kids right up through adults.

“We are also planning to have kids' games and face painting, as well as a bean bag toss competition,” he said. “Our goal is to be as price-conscious as possible, so everyone can come and take part.”

Mayer is hoping to offer a hole-in-one golf contest, but has yet to receive clearance from the city.

“Our hope is to have a floating green in the lagoon that people can shoot at to try for a hole in one,” Mayer said. “We are talking to the city about doing that, but we haven't had that approved yet. If we do get to do it, I think it would be a big hit.”

In keeping with the Oktoberfest theme, a home brewing demonstration and contest is also in the works.

“We want to have all the home brewers in the area get together for a demonstration and for taste testing,” Mayer said. “We would also like to do a contest with judging.”

Mayer also hopes to get local businesses involved in the bean bag toss competition.

“We want to do a bean bag toss contest for all age levels,” he said. “Our goal is to get the business community involved, so that we have a corporate division where businesses will form teams and compete against each other.”

The Pine Haven men's organization will serve a pancake breakfast in the large pavilion on Saturday morning.

The pavilion area is also tentatively scheduled to bingo and polka bands later in the day on Saturday.

The Sheboygan Falls Lions Club, which boasts approximately 70 members, hopes to use the proceeds from the event to raise funds for the new westside park project

KAPL, which features 75 members, will use funds from Oktoberfest to support various youth programs and activities in Kohler.

“All of the money we raise goes back to our youth in Kohler,” Romanoski said. “That includes youth sports, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, scholarships and really anything having to do with youth activities.”

Mayer and Romanoski invite other organizations and individuals to assist with the event.

“We would like to make this event as successful as we can,” Mayer said. “To do that, we need to find as much support as we can from other service organizations, businesses, individuals and volunteers. We certainly won't turn anyone away that wants to help.”

“We are very excited about this,” he said. “We have a very good core group of individuals working hard to make sure we start off strong. The goal is also to sustain things going forward, so we can continue to have a successful event for many years to come.”

For more information on Oktoberfest, contact Al Mayer at 467-8166 or Jeff Romanoski at 918-0352.

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