Cuyahoga Falls -- The 34th annual Oktoberfest will take place Sept. 13, 14 and 15 at Falls River Square. Parking, admission and entertainment are free.
According to Chairman of Oktoberfest Mike Thomas, this is the longest running festival in Cuyahoga Falls. The first Oktoberfest took place in 1980 and it was the first festival that happened at Falls River Square which was then called Front Street Mall.
This will be Thomas' 12th year working on Oktoberfest and his third year as chairman.
There are going to be a total of 30 food vendors and 20 craft vendors at this year's fest.
German dancers and bands will be performing throughout the day all three days. Local cover bands will be performing in the evening hours. The daytime performances will be mostly German music while the evening performances will be a mix of everything.
For the first time wine will be served at Oktoberfest.
The Grape and Granary located in Cuyahoga Falls will be making wine out of imported grapes from Germany, said Thomas.
"Other festivals often serve wine and have been successful with it," said Thomas. "We have also been getting requests for wine so we decided to offer more drink options for everyone."
Yuengling Light and Yuengling Oktoberfest will be available on draft.
For the first time there will be a popcorn eating contest in The Pit on Sept. 14 from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. The popcorn is provided by Metropolis Popcorn.
Crafts for the kids will take place in the pavilion on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 from 2 until 4 p.m. There will also be two large screen TVs in the pavilion carrying sporting events of the weekend.
All proceeds from the event go to local charities according to Thomas.
Four scholarships will also be given to high school students from Cuyahoga Falls High School and Woodridge High School. Seniors from the schools submit an application to their counselors which are then passed on to the Oktoberfest committee to be reviewed. The committee members determine the winners.
A committee of 25 people are actively preparing for Oktoberfest throughout the year.
Throughout the past 34 years, Oktoberfest has raised more than $1 million for local charities and provided students with $100,000 in scholarship money.
Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 people visited Oktoberfest last year. Thomas would like to see this number rise to 50,000 to 70,000 this year.
Every year the committee sells a collector's mug at Oktoberfest. The mugs always feature an image of something relating to the local community that year. This year's mug will have an image of the original river because of this summer's dam removals. These mugs can be purchased at any one of the token booths for $8.
"To have success each year and to keep this event going is my ultimate goal," said Thomas. "I enjoy raising money for all kinds of local charities and scholarships, seeing the people come down and enjoy the food and entertainment, and just seeing it all come together at the end."
For more information plus a list of local charities which will be receiving proceeds, visit www.oktoberfestcfo.com.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4163