There's a reason that Marshalltown's Oktemberfest is dubbed Iowa's Best Family Fall Festival - because it is.
For the past 16 years a volunteer board of directors, comprised of enthusiastic members of the community, have put together the four days of fun that is Oktemberfest.
We can't say enough about the folks that work for months in advance to make sure everything from the spaghetti dinner to the parade entries are ready to roll. They spend countless hours preparing the event so in turn we can have a good time.
Probably the best thing we at the Times-Republican enjoy about covering Oktemberfest is right there in the catch phrase - the families.
We realize that these are memories your children will hang on to. We revel in capturing photos of children experiencing the joy of a carnival ride or adrenaline of the fun run. Above all, we enjoy seeing the community embrace this event.
So we encourage you to clear your weekend schedule and take in some of the entertainment, which begins on Thursday with Kids Night.
We've compiled a 12-page guide to Oktemberfest, which will be inserted into your Wednesday T-R. However, we think these few events are worth a mention now:
The downtown parade route will be cleared by the Marshalltown Police Department in honor of the tenth anniversary of 9/11; they will be having several different vehicles from different areas. The Color Guard, presented by VFW Post 839, the Grand Marshal, the 2011 Oktemberfest President, Little Miss & Mr. Oktemberfest and the Bobcat Band will lead off the bands.
The 2011 Grand Marshal, Todd Eipperle, was chosen for his courageous service to the U.S. He will be followed by 100-plus entries consisting of marching bands, floats, equestrian and walking units representing a wide cross section of our community.
The resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory of Music's Professional String Quartet Program - The Harlem Quartet - will present a short concert from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Friday at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The concert will be open to the public, free of charge.
The Iowa Military Veterans Band, composed of nearly 100 Iowa men and women who are military veterans from World War II up to the current War on Terror, will perform at 4 p.m. on Saturday on the courthouse stage. The band plays music composed by great American composers such as John Philip Sousa, Karl King, Meredith Willson, George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin. This event is also open to the public and free of charge.
Prairie Heritage Day, held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Grimes Farm, will let you go back in time and experience rope making, candle dipping, a blacksmith display, a pioneer wash with old soap and a washboard, butter making, a buffalo chip throwing contest and many other activities. People are invited to use a restored cider press to make and taste their own apple cider. Samples of fry bread will also be available for tasting.
Of course there's much more. (That's why we're publishing the 12-page section!) Throughout the festival, enjoy the carnival, craft show and merchants and variety of food vendors. We're looking forward to it - you should too.