German food and drink, a Volkswagen Cruise-in, Chalk the Block, spirited music and dancing, vendors, and a special appearance by “The Mayor of Rock-N-Roll” – Elvis – will delight attendees at the 16th annual Oktoberfest event on Friday, September 23rd. Festivities will take place on the Courthouse Square from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Center Township of Howard County and the Greater Kokomo Downtown Association. Contributors to the festival include the City of Kokomo, Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau, Howard County, Half Moon Brewery, Indiana American Water, Ivy Tech Community College, Waste Management, Wel-Don Pots and Z92Five & WIOU.
Center Township Trustee Jean Lushin, members of his staff, and volunteers will cook brats and hot dogs. Food and drink tickets are the same as last year’s prices. A brat dinner or hot dog dinner will be $5. Both dinners will have German potato salad or potato chips, sauerkraut, and soft drink or bottled water. There will be two hot dogs with the hot dog dinner. A $3 Kids Meal will include one hot dog, chips, and a drink. Additional soft drink or water will be $1. Half Moon Brewery will provide light, medium, and dark beers in the beer garden, including a new Oktoberfest brew, for $4 each.
The Jay Fox Band will begin playing at 4 p.m. Based in Fort Wayne, Jay, whose great-grandparents were born in Germany, has more than 42 years of experience in music with a solid classical accordionist background. He was AAA National Accordion Champion in age-group competition for four consecutive years. The band annually tours the Midwest and South, performs in Europe, and also plays numerous festivals, hotels, clubs, and public dances. Band members are fulltime professional musicians. They perform authentic Bavarian Schuhplatting (German shoe-slap dancing), Tyrolian Cow-Bell Ringing, yodeling, and numerous audience participation specialties.
In addition, Elvis is back for this year’s event. Bruce Borders is the world’s first and only Elvis impersonator to be elected as a mayor and as a state representative. He served as mayor of his hometown, Jasonville, Ind., for eight years before taking a break to devote more time to his family and to his music. He re-entered politics and was elected as an Indiana state representative, a position he still holds. As a result of his unusual combination of jobs, the Boston Globe gave him the title of “The Mayor of Rock-N-Roll.” After being elected as State Representative, the Indianapolis Star crowned him “The King of the Capitol.” Bruce has entertained audiences throughout the world.
All makes and models of Volkswagens are welcome at the annual Oktoberfest Volkswagen Cruise-In, which will be located on Sycamore and Buckeye streets on the south and west sides of the Square. This is a free event and begins at 4 p.m. Garry McNew, President of the City of Firsts Volkswagen Club said, “this entire event started as a memorial to the late Roger S. Wright, proprietor of the Beetle Shop in Kokomo. We’re really excited about keeping this tradition going”. McNew suggests participants arrive early. “We will fill the streets. Last year, we had a record attendance and car participation from six different states and are expecting even more this year”, said McNew. “We have an incredible weekend planned for everyone”.
The second annual Chalk the Block event will be held again in the downtown square area. There will be block sections dedicated to one of four categories: elementary students (1st through 5th grades), middle school students (6th, 7th & 8th grades), high school students (9th through 12th grades) and adults. According to Angie Meyers, Chalk the Block Committee Chair, “this year’s drawing theme is patriotic”. Each participant will be given a blocked off section of sidewalk and 1 box of chalk. Meyers suggests that each participant come prepared with a sketch, as two hours may not be enough time to come up with an idea and complete the drawing.
“Everyone is welcome to participate and there is no entry fee”, said Meyers. She urges art teachers to encourage their students to participate. Ribbons will be given in the four categories and all participants will receive a ribbon for participating. Judging will begin at 6 p.m. and winners will be announced from the Oktoberfest stage. You can register at Angie Meyers Design Studio LLC, 104 W. Walnut Street, or by calling 765-456-3800. “Last year, we had 75 participants and anticipate that number growing this year so please pre-register by Thursday, September 15th”.
A color guard from the Albert E. Shockey Detachment, Marine Corps League of Kokomo will present the U.S. flag during the singing of the National Anthem at 6:30 p.m. In addition, vendors will be selling various items, including arts & crafts, desserts, and kettle corn during the festival. Don’t miss a great evening of food, music and fun in Downtown Kokomo!