'Celebrating the German heritage of Belleville': Oktoberfest kicks off Friday

News-DemocratSeptember 18, 2013 

Civic organizations and city leaders are rolling out the barrel for Belleville Oktoberfest this weekend.

The downtown street festival will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, although organizers will wait for people to get off work before they hold official opening ceremonies and tap the Golden Half Keg at 5 p.m.

The fun will continue until 11 p.m. Friday and resume from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday with plenty of food, drinks and live music. The Public Square and a portion of North and South Illinois and East and West Main streets will be closed to vehicular traffic.

"We're celebrating the German traditions and heritage of Belleville," said chairman Cari Frick of Metro Lock & Security. "But the main thing is, it's a fundraiser for clubs and organizations, so (the money) goes back into the community."

The festival is sponsored by the Belleville Exchange Club, Belleville Sister Cities and Belleville Shrine Club.

They generally sell bratwurst, potato pancakes, knackwurst, sauerkraut, weisswurst, strudel and other German food, while other organizations offer traditional festival fare.

"We have a huge variety of drinks," Frick said. "Of course, we have domestic beer, but Belleville Sister Cities sells authentic German beer.

"And we also will have fall beers on draft, such as Sam Adams Octoberfest, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale and the Woodchuck Hard Cider. You can buy them in commemorative cups. We're also going to have Barefoot wine available for people who don't like to drink beer."

This year's bands include the St. Louis Experience and Straight 6 on Friday and Rendition, Sh-Boom and Super Jam on Saturday.

The Southern Illinois Street Rod Association will host a car show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on West Main Street (register from 8 to noon).

"It's open to all years, makes and models," said organizer Mike Bach of Mike Bach Auto Body. "We'll have over 100 cars on display. I think we had 125 last year."

Children will be able to decorate pumpkins and participate in other fall arts-and-crafts projects from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Belleville East and West's German clubs will return to Oktoberfest to perform a traditional European dance called the "Jumpstyle" at 5:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

"I think this is the fourth year they've done it," Frick said. "It's very popular. People like to come out and see it."

At a glance

What: Belleville Oktoberfest

Where: Downtown Belleville (the square and portions of North and South Illinois and West and East Main streets)

When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Admission: Free

Car show: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Children's area: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Pets: Prohibited

Information: Visit bellevilleoktoberfest.com or call Cari Frick at 618-398-8560 or Michelle Miller at 618-233-8126

Belleville Oktoberfest schedule


11 a.m. -- Festival open

3 to 6 p.m. -- Music by the St. Louis Experience

5 p.m. -- Opening ceremonies and tapping of the Golden Half Keg

5:30 p.m. -- Jumpstyle dance demonstration by Belleville East and West high school German clubs

7 to 11 p.m. -- Music by the Straight 6

11 p.m. -- Festival grounds close


8 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Car show on West Main Street (register from 8 to noon; $10 fee; awards at 4)

11 a.m. -- Festival opens

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- Music by Rendition

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Children's area open

12:30 p.m. -- Jumpstyle dance demonstration by Belleville East and West German clubs

2 to 6 p.m. -- Music by Sh-Boom

7 to 11 p.m. -- Music by Super Jam

11 p.m. -- Festival grounds close

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