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Oktoberfest plans coming together
best whiskers
The best whiskers contest will be a part of the Effingham Oktoberfest celebration this year. - photo by File photo

It’s only two months to this year’s Effingham Oktoberfest. This marks the third year for the event, which will be held in Rincon’s McCall Plaza on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29.

The first two festivals turned out to be larger than anyone expected and had crowds of up to 3,500 for the two days. Chamber officials said this year, with more people aware of the festival and with the great entertainment lineup, they expect to see between 3,500 and 5,000 visitors.

Chamber Director Rick Lott said applications are being taken for arts and crafts vendors and for non-profit organizations and companies or individuals that would like to be sponsors of this year’s event. Those interested can call or e-mail the Effingham Chamber for more information.

"This is a great way to be part of a popular local event," he said.

Chamber President Talbert Edenfield said he also expects great crowds this year.

"With the expanded children’s area sponsored by Effingham Hospital, an exciting Battle of the Bands on Friday night, and the great country entertainer, Chuck Courtenay, performing on Saturday night we expect great crowds and lots of fun for the whole family," he said.

One new aspect of this year’s event will be added comfort. Two large tents will encompass the music stage, the beer garden, and all the food and entertainment seating. Come rain or shine, festival-goers will be able to sit and eat in comfort this year.

Another change this year is what used to be a homemade streudel contest is now simply a home baking contest. Homemade baked treats can compete for cash prizes.

The "Best Whiskers" contest will be held again so get those beards and mustaches growing. World award winner Bill Mitchell will be on hand again this year. PAWS again will host its "Best Dressed Pet" contest.

The children’s area will feature inflatables, a rock climbing wall, an airbrush tattoo artist, pony rides and more. There will be vendors doing face painting and other children’s activities.

Among the other vendors participating this year will be painting, photography, fine jewelry, soaps, candles, honey and more. Lott said he was especially excited to have fine art painters in this year’s show.

"We have even more very talented artists and craftsmen in this year’s show, making this a great opportunity to start your Christmas shopping a little early," he said.

Lott said there will be booths from many of the community’s non-profit organizations and festival sponsors. Madrac Farms also will be on hand with achildren’s hay-play area, fresh produce and pumpkins.

There are still a few daytime entertainment slots open and vendor spaces available. The food court is almost full and not accepting any other full service food vendors.

Festival parking will be available at the county ballfields just west of the festival site on McCall Road, and also just to the south of McCall Plaza in the former Landscape Depot site.

Free golf cart shuttles will be running to and from the parking lot throughout the event. Boy Scouts will assist with parking at the ballfields again this year.

Anyone interested in a space or in volunteering for the event should call the Effingham Chamber at 754-3301.