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Chamber preps for Oktoberfest
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It’s only a few days to this year’s Effingham Oktoberfest. This marks the third year for this hugely popular event, which will again be held in Rincon’s McCall Plaza on Friday and Saturday.

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 entertainment line-up, they expect to see between 3,500 and 5,000 visitors.

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. The “Best Whiskers” contest will be held on Friday night at 6:30. World whiskers award winner Bill Mitchell will be on hand this year and PAWS once again will host its “Best Dressed Pet” contest Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

The children’s area will feature inflatables courtesy of Sun Country Amusements, 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.

Chamber Director Rick 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. “Even with art and crafts of this quality, there will be something for every budget.”

He said there will also be booths by many of the community’s non-profit organizations and festival sponsors. Madrac Farms will be on hand with a children’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. In addition to the Schnitzel Shack’s German fare, there will be barbecue, funnel cakes, Italian ice, kettle corn, boiled peanuts, American foods, and one additional German food vendor.

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.

Effingham Oktoberfest is hosted by the Effingham Chamber of Commerce.