Octborfest offers classic gathering spot
by Haley Ferretti
Oct 04, 2013 | 2553 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The smoky-sweet smell of sizzling barbecue, the bright colors of the arts and crafts tents, and the classic sound of blues riffs being strummed on stage can only mean one thing.

That's right — it's the 31st annual Octoberfest.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. on Oct. 11 and at 9 a.m. on Oct. 12 in downtown Cleveland.

Octoberfest will feature many traditional events, among those being the 26th annual barbecue competition; the kissing of the pig; and the ceremonial lighting of the grill, facilitated this year by Delta State University President William LaForge and his wife Nancy.

There will also be wide array of other entertainment and activities, including a sponsor's dinner, the Junior Auxiliary Fun Run, an arts and craft show, a performance by the Delta All-Star cheerleaders and DSU band, numerous musicians, as well as concessions and children's activities.

Octoberfest Chair Emily Jones described the yearly tradition as a chance for the community to come together to celebrate the beginning of autumn in the Delta and to have a good time.

"We are thrilled to have President Bill LaForge and DSU’s First Lady Nancy LaForge be our guests as they light the ceremonial grill for Friday night’s kick-off," said Jones. "This year’s theme should bring out some impressive cooking team decorations, as well. It’s going to be a festive weekend with a little bit of Las Vegas in Cleveland!"

Jones also described the process in which the committee goes through in order to make Octoberfest a success each year.

"Considering that Octoberfest is successful each year because of the hundreds of volunteers dedicated to making the weekend a blast," said Jones, "I would say that word of mouth and friends inviting friends to volunteer with them is one of the best ways we are able to get others involved on a personal level.

"Civic Clubs and churches can use this opportunity to fundraise in the children’s area or in vendor concessions," said Jones. "If anyone has an hour or two to spare and wants to get to know others in the community, the Chamber is always excited to add another person to the ever growing list of volunteers."

Jones also noted that it is the steady date, the second week of October, which keeps people coming back every year.

"One big thing is knowing that Octoberfest is the second weekend of October every year," explained Jones. “Banking on that makes it easier for groups and families to plan reunions and trips back home."

Octoberfest has been a staple event in Cleveland for decades that people have been able to count on to have fun and make lasting memories. Jones explained that it is this appeal along with the warm, friendly atmosphere that makes Octoberfest a unique experience.

"As one of the oldest festivals in our Mississippi Delta," said Jones, "the traditions of fun, food, and gathering together are some elements that really make Octoberfest stand out. You can count on seeing old friends and making new ones over the weekend!"