WEST ALEXANDRIA — Fall festival season has officially begun, and this weekend marks the 51st annual autumn celebration of the Kiwanis Oktoberfest in West Alexandria.
Located in Peace Park in the village, off U.S. 35 East, the festival runs Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14. The festival runs from 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The annual Oktoberfest parade is slated to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Immediately following the parade, there will be opening ceremonies, complete with recognition of the West Alexandria Citizen of the Year and crowning of Oktoberfest royalty.
This year’s Oktoberfest Parade grand marshal is John Bedell.
Bedell is an Emmy-award winning reporter and the weekend evening anchor for WHIO TV. He’s been with WHIO Radio and Channel 7 since he graduated Cum Laude from the University of Dayton in 2010. He’s covered the Preble County beat since 2012. Bedell says he was able to work on one the favorite stories of his career thanks to a tip from one of his Preble County contacts — the story of a retired couple from West Alexandria who saved the lives of two young newlyweds by helping them escape a burning mountainside in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Bedell covered the story while he was covering the wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains in 2016.
According to Bedell, at some point during his news-gathering trips to Preble County, you can usually find him grabbing a slice of pie to go at the Eaton Place.
Bedell is also the host of “Flyer Feedback” on AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO as part of WHIO’s radio coverage of Dayton Flyers basketball. He is originally from the Akron-area, and is a “dyed-in-the-wool” Cleveland sports fan. He’s also a Dayton Flyers basketball and Ohio State football fan and loves spending time on the hiking trails in parks all over the Miami Valley. He resides in the Dayton-area with his wife, son and the family dog.
There will be K-9 unit demonstrations Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
At 4 p.m. on Saturday, young participants will take part in the Mr. & Miss Oktoberfest Contest.
The antique car covered bridge run will begin at noon on Sunday.
In the back of the park, there will be numerous free games for children every half hour on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
There will be lots of handmade arts and crafts for shoppers to purchase, and those wanting to “enjoy the culinary side of Oktoberfest will delight in the German fare including pork and sauerkraut, cabbage roll casserole, and also enjoy homemade apple dumplings, barbecue chicken and pork chops and much more,” according to organizers. Visitors will also be able to watch apple butter being made, and enjoy musical entertainment both days. There will also be a beer garden available both days.
Flat Out will perform Saturday. Another Round Band will perform on Sunday.
The Twin Valley South High School Career-Based Intervention Program is once again sponsoring the Scarecrow Scamper 5K Walk/Run & 10K Run on Saturday at 8:30 a.m., to kick off the Oktoberfest fun.
5K Pre-registration, with a free t-shirt, is $20 and race day registration is $25. 10K pre-registration with a shirt is $25, same day registration is $30. Race day registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. Overall winners and male/female age groups receive 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards.
Anyone interested in participating in the run should contact Robin Judd at Twin Valley South (937-839-4693) or visit the Twin Valley Community Local School District website, http://tvs.k12.oh.us, for registration information. Proceeds benefit the students enrolled in the CBI Program at Twin Valley South.
Additional parking for festival visitors is available at the Dow Chemical and Paramont Plastic parking lot, east of Peace Park. The lot is located east of the Marathon station on the same side of the street.
For the safety of everyone, no dogs or pets of any kind are permitted in the park during the festival. Golf carts are also not permitted in the park during the festival.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.