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Oktoberfest:Annual festival starts today, continues through next weekend

By Staff | Oct 16, 2015

Marking its 30th year, Oktoberfest will kick off today at the German-American Social Club.

The festival, which runs through the weekend and then again Oct. 23-25, will feature a packed lineup of live music and entertainment, including Zimmerer Kapelle and Kawogl, both out of Germany.

“We have two German bands,” Tom Isham, chairman of this year’s Oktoberfest, said.

He explained that “zimmerer” means “carpenter” and the large band is comprised of a group of working carpenters. They perform authentic German music, as well as popular selections.

Getting its name from the band members’ initials, Kawogl plays various music.

“It’s a trio,” Isham said. “It’s a popular party band from Germany.”

The band Hafenkapelle, which is made up of members of the club, will also take the stage.

“They do German music, marches and stuff like that,” he said.

The other acts will include Peter & Edith, the Lee County Pipes & Drums and Peter Dee, along with the Manni Daum Duo, Manni Daum Trio and the Manni Daum Band. There will be three stages.

“Somewhere, there will be a band going on,” Isham said.

Additional entertainment will be provided by Ukrainian dancers and Irish dancers.

“They’re local,” he said of the dance groups.

The festival runs today from 4 p.m. to midnight, with the grand opening parade at 8 p.m.

The event will continue from noon to midnight on Saturdays and then noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays. On Oct. 23 – the second Friday on the schedule – the festival will run again from 4 p.m. to midnight.

On Sundays, a free church service is offered at 11 a.m.

Another Sunday highlight is the grand parade, which starts at 1 p.m.

The event will feature traditional German fare for purchase, including bratwursts, potato pancakes, schnitzel on a stick, schweinhaxen – the shank of the ham – schnitzel sandwiches and more.

“We have the authentic German food,” Isham said.

The German beer Krombacher and Beck’s will be available. Budwesier, Bud Light and Amber Bock will be on hand, along with red and white German and domestic wines, mixed drinks and shots.

“We do have one little booth here with local crafts,” he said.

There will be barbecue, Greek options, hot dogs and hamburgers, kabobs, and carnival food like elephant ears, corn dogs and popcorn. Ice cream, Italian ice and funnel cakes will be on site.

For the younger attendees, there will be children’s rides and games.

Clowns will offer face painting and make balloon animals, alongside carnival-style activities.

“The rides are not free,” Isham said. “There is a ticket booth there.”

Dozens of vendors will be on hand to exhibit and sell a mix of goods and wares.

“There were 36,000 adults last year over both weekends,” he said, noting that it is a big event every year. “As long as we have good weather, we expect to have a big turnout like we did last year.”

In 2014, the weather held out for all six days of the festival.

“We had perfect weather every day,” Isham said.

During the event, two tickets will be raffled off to Germany, Cancun and Puerto Rico.

“You have to be present to win,” he said.

The drawings are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Isham encouraged the public to stop on by.

“It’s a great place to get caught up in the festive atmosphere,” he said. “It’s an experience of a lifetime.”

Tickets are $6 at the gate or $5 in advance; children ages 12 and under are free. Advance tickets are available at the club, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral and Trebing Tile and Carpet.

Free onsite parking is available.

For information, visit: www.capecoraloktoberfest.com or call (239) 283-1400.

The German-American Social Club is at 2101 S.W. Pine Island Road.