WEST ALEXANDRIA — The 51st annual Kiwanis Oktoberfest was held this past weekend, Saturday, Oct. 13-Sunday, Oct. 14. The festival kicked off with the parade and opening ceremonies on Saturday, featuring the West Alexandria Citizen of the Year and crowning of Oktoberfest royalty.
This year’s Citizen of the Year is Ethel Wysong, who is 100 years old. Sadly, she could not attend the festival due to the weather, but Mayor Carol Lunsford planned to present her with a resolution later in the day.
“I see her every week. She is vibrant, alert, and knows exactly what she wants to do. I will honor her with her proclamation later in her home with her family,” Lunsford said.
Parade grand marshal was Emmy-award winning reporter John Bedell. He is a 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.
Mayor Lunsford presented him with a resolution declaring Saturday, Oct. 13 as “John Bedell Day.” He then had the honor of taking over the opening ceremonies and leading the Oktoberfest queen contest.
2017 Queen Audrey Chesney was unable to attend the 2018 queen competition. Chesney is a Twin Valley South graduate of 2018 and is now a freshman at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She is studying biology and global health studies to become a mission doctor.
There were seven applicants for the Oktoberfest Queen contest this year. Each young lady completed an application and was interviewed by a panel of three judges.
Participants for the queen contest included Erin Tebbe, Samantha Shank, Alyssa Clark, Sydney Bezich, Lucy Keener, Liberty Chesney, and Lauren Cole.
Bezich was crowned 2018 Oktoberfest Queen. She is a sophomore at Twin valley South High School. She is involved in volleyball, cheerleading, FCCLA, and Student Council.
Second runner-up was Shank. She is a junior at Twin Valley South High School. She is involved in soccer, softball, FCCLA, and Student Council.
First runner-up was Tebbe. She is a senior at Twin Valley South High School. She is involved in marching band, 4-H, Student Council, and Science Club.
“It is a great group of girls that all comes together. It is something so great and [the queen] is a good role model to show young girls that you can be great in your community,” Bezich said. “I’m so shocked [I won]. I’m only a sophomore, so it was kind of a shock for me.”
“It is just something really fun to do,” she continued. “The interview process, you go in, you’re nervous, but you sit down with three lovely women in front of you and they ask you questions and you end up not feeling nervous at all. I’m excited to go around the community, get to know people, be in parades and represent West Alexandria proudly.”
The festival also featured craft and food vendors, a K-9 unit demonstration, Mr. & Miss Oktoberfest Contest, antique car covered bridge run, free children games, performance by Flat Out, and the Scarecrow Scamper 5K Walk/Run & 10K Run.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH