What can we expect from the second annual Oktoberfest?
More. More food, more art, more music, more vendors and more activities.
The free festival, which runs from Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 15, will take up more of Main Street than it did last year, when organizers say 8,000 people visited downtown Harrodsburg. Last year, the festival covered about two city blocks. This year, it will run from the Mercer County Judicial Center and block the Main Street–Lexington Street intersection.
Even with all that room, Oktoberfest will be packed with things to do. In addition to six food trucks, there will be art provided by artists from the Arts Council of Mercer County. Next to Olde Towne Park on Main Street, there will be a 40 ft. by 40 ft. tent, a Bavarian-themed Fest Haus for the grown ups. But kids won’t be left out. There will be a kids fun zone in front of the Judicial Center.
There will also be plenty of beers on tap. Nineteen to be exact, including offerings from Harrodsburg’s own Lemons Mill Brewery.
New this year is a 5-K run/walk on Main Street. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The Harrodsburg First Main Street Program, who are the principal planners of Oktoberfest, are still looking for sponsors and volunteers. For more information, call Harrodburg First at 734-6811 or visit them online at downtownharrodsburg.com/oktoberfest.html.
Harrodsburg First has a lot riding on the success of this year’s Oktoberfest. The organization’s yearly budget is only $116,100, and they are investing almost $40,000 into this year’s festival, nearly twice what was spent last year.
The first Oktoberfest won an award from the Kentucky Main Street Program for Best Main Street Promotion. While it was successful and even won the approval of local vendors who had initially opposed it, the festival did not make any money.
Harrodsburg First Treasurer Allen Goldie said as long as the weather is good, they should have no trouble turning a profit, even after making such a large investment.
“It’s going to be great,” Goldie said.
The organizers have gotten a lot more help this year, including a $5,000 sponsorship from Kentucky Eagle as well as $10,000 from the City of Harrodsburg and assistance in advertising the event from the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission.
After Oktoberfest, the members of Harrodsburg First won’t have much of a chance to catch their breaths. They are also planning the annual Spooktacular parade on Saturday, Oct. 28, and the Night of the Great Pumpkin on Tuesday, Oct. 31. There is also Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 and the annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 1.
Oktoberfest kicks off with the traditional blessing of the kegs. At 5 p.m., the taps will open and Becci Loomer and Bob Stange, better known as B Squared, will play classic country, rock and pop hits on the main stage. At 7 p.m., there’s original honky tonk from Johnny Berry and the Outliers of Louisville, who played Oktoberfest last year. Closing out the first day’s festivities is Conch Republic, a beach band from Lexington.
Saturday kicks off with a 5-K run/walk on Main Street. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14. Registration is $20 and includes a T-Shirt and awards. For more information, visit runsignup.com/Race/KY/Harrodsburg/HarrodsburgOktoberfest5k.
The music starts at 11 a.m. with the duo Evces and White of Danville, followed by Funkabilly, an authentic soul review from Richmond, at 1 p.m. Brown 2 The Bone, a band made up of UPS employees who tour in support of MERF, the Musicians’ Emergency Relief Foundation, will take the stage at 4 p.m.
At 6 p.m., LCD, a trio composed of guitarist Ben Lacy and rhythm section Corey Cross and Dwight Dunlap will take the stage. At 9 p.m., the headliners, Soul Review, led by Harrodsburg singer Jessica Browning, will close out the night.
Dogtoberfest. Bring your pets downtown and join in the fun. Dress up your dog—preferably in lederhosen or dirndls—and win awards judged by the crowd.
The music kicks off with Danville singer-songwriter Michael Evces at 11 a.m., followed by local favorite Blue Groove Jazz at 1 p.m. Power Play will close the festival at 2:30 p.m.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.