Henderson Oktoberfest Nov. 7

by Phil LaKernick, Director
Henderson Downtown Development Commission

Little German Band Henderson Oktoberfest 2009
The Little German Band, scheduled to appear at Henderson’s first Oktoberfest on November 7, 2009

Oktoberfest! is coming to Henderson.

The Henderson-Vance Downtown Development Commission is staging Henderson’s first Oktoberfest with performances by the Little German Band and Dancers on Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. downtown.

The DDC is also inviting food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and businesses to participate in the festival. Children’s games, including a moonwalk, an obstacle course and a slide, will be featured, too.

“We are tremendously excited about the first Oktoberfest in downtown Henderson,” said Jason Stewardson, chairman of the board of directors for the DDC. “We hope to continue this event year after year along with other celebrations in the downtown area.”

Traditional Oktoberfest celebrations are held anytime from mid-September through the first week in November, usually marking the end of the harvest and the preparation for winter, according to Phil Lakernick, director of the DDC and Henderson’s Main Street manager. A 16-day Oktoberfest festival held in Munich each fall is considered the world’s largest fair.

The Little German Band and Dancers, composed of 80 fully-costumed musicians and dancers, have traveled the world since their start in 1971 in Raleigh, having fun while promoting Bavarian and German songs and dances. The group has made six trips to Europe with performances in Munich, Germany and in Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. They have performed in more than 13 states in the United States.

“Oktoberfest will be full of excitement for friends and family alike,” Stewardson said. “There will be a multitude of vendors involved for all sorts of food and beverages, along with The Little German Band providing the entertainment.”

For an Oktoberfest such as the one scheduled for Henderson, anywhere from 24 to 48 members will perform in the Little German Band and Dancers.

Harris Inc. and Ahner Security are the platinum sponsors for Oktoberfest. Additional sponsorships are available.

The original “Oktoberfest” occurred just shy of 200 years ago — Oct. 18, 1810 — in Munich for the commemoration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig I, and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, according to Lakernick.

The celebration had a two-fold purpose: to give thanks to the Lord for past year’s crops and blessings and to share in the joy of the marriage ceremony with the royal family “in the spirit of true love,” Lakernick said.

In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time, the DDC director said. This event showcased the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents.

Oktoberfest is celebrated today in many countries other than in Germany and its timing is based on the harvest and country’s climate. It was believed that a festival at this time would provide an ideal “relief valve” and a way to give thanks for the abundant harvest, Lakernick said.
Henderson’s activities on Nov. 7 will take place along Breckenridge Street from Garnett to Chestnut streets and along Wyche from Montgomery to Winder streets.

“The DDC would like to thank the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, Harris Inc., Ahner Security, Toyota of Henderson and all of the volunteers for their continued support with our vision for a prosperous downtown,” said Stewardson.

Information on how to become a vendor and/or a sponsor for the event can be obtained by contacting Lakernick at the DDC office at City Hall on Rose Avenue. The DDC can be reached by telephone at (252) 430-5734 and by e-mail.

Applications for vendor booths can be picked up at City Hall, the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce and The Daily Dispatch.