Large turnout despite cool, damp weather
Despite damp and chilly conditions, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe for the 40th annual Oktoberfest on Sunday.
Event Co-Chair Pam Brobst said the cold and the rain had little effect on the spirits of those who attended the event, especially the youth.
"The kids seemed to be having a great time with all the activities that we had set up," Brobst said. "They didn't seem to mind the cold or the rain. We were so lucky we didn't have downpours. We really appreciate the crowd that came out. They looked like they were having a great time. We could have ordered up the perfect, but we didn't. That's okay, because we've had great weather for most of the 40 years we've had our Oktoberfest."
Many attendees took advantage of the large tents in front of the stage in the center of the church grounds to stay dry and enjoy an afternoon of live entertainment.
"We probably had more people who grabbed food and sat under the tents," Brobst explained. "I thought we had a great variety of entertainment that they could enjoy from all different age groups and all different kinds of talent. Because that was in the center of the church grounds, they could watch their kids. With the wristbands, the kids were just going from game to game. That was a great way for them to have fun."
Father Kneib said he enjoyed his first experience at Oktoberfest as the new pastor of St. Columban Catholic Church.
"I thought it went really well," Kneib said. "I saw some faces I recognized and a lot that I didn't. We had a lot of support from the wider community. I really enjoyed the festival atmosphere. I got to walk about and get to know people in a fun environment.
The live entertainment was just one of many activities for adults and children to enjoy during the afternoon event. Brobst said the available rides, including a barrel train, mini hay ride and buggy were all very popular.
"The buggy rides were fun because adults and children could ride that," Brobst said. "The train was just completed this week by members of the Bonderer family. It was hot off the press and a lot of fun for adults or kids to ride that around. The mini hayride was fun because that's something that some kids don't get to experience."
For the fourth year, Oktoberfest was used as a platform to honor the unsung heroes of St. Columban Catholic Church.
"It was such an honor to be able to give the award to two of our parishioners, Alice Van Dyke and Dorney Hecker," Brobst said. "Year after year, they work behind the scenes to help in any way they can. They're always there. They seem to sense when things need to be done, and they volunteer to do it. It was just nice to be able to honor them for that. They never want recognition, but it was so much fun for us to put them in that spotlight and honor them for all the things that they do to help other people.
Brobst said it takes a large group of volunteers and other supporters to transform the church grounds into an area of fun, food and fellowship. As event co-chair, Brobst thanked all who have helped make the event a success for four decades.
"I takes a lot of volunteers to operate Octoberfest," Brobst explained. "They help with setting up, tearing down and then all of the volunteers throughout the day. It's fun to see everyone involved. That's why Oktoberfest is an activity that brings our parish closer. We all work together for a common cause. We rely on those volunteers, and we couldn't do it without them."