Metro-East Living

Oktoberfest opens today with a bigger beer tent, more entertainment

Oktoberfest time in Belleville

The Public Square in downtown Belleville is the place to be this weekend to celebrate. The festival feature food, German brews, fun activities and entertainment.
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The Public Square in downtown Belleville is the place to be this weekend to celebrate. The festival feature food, German brews, fun activities and entertainment.

Music, dancing, food and beer are on tap Friday and Saturday for Belleville’s 36th Oktoberfest.

What’s new this year?

The beer tent is longer — 400 feet to be exact.

There are more places for muscians to perform — three stages instead of two.

And the Friday night attraction is the Little River Band.

“A lot come for the food and beer,” said Cari Frick, 2016 Oktoberfest chairman. “And we have people traveling from all over to see the Little River Band.”

The Australian band that had a bunch of hits in the late 1970s and ’80s will take the main stage at 9.

Other Oktoberfest performers include Super Jam, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday on the Main Stage; and Sunshine Boys, 5:30-8 p.m. Friday; and Uber Cool, 8:30-11 p.m. Friday on the West Main Bier Tent Stage.

Saturday’s music ranges from Social Remedy at 11 a.m. on the Main Stage to the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at 11 a.m. on the East Main Community Stage and Trixie Delight at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Belleville’s Oktoberfest is based on the famous festival of the same name that takes place each year in Munich. Its origins date to the wedding celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig — who would later become King Ludwig I — and Princess Therese in 1810.

The two-day downtown Belleville event is from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day on the Belleville Public Square. Opening ceremony is at 5 p.m. Friday.

Besides a feast of German food and drink, in Belleville there’s a wiener dog race Saturday afternoon, along with a bags tourney and car show.

Wiener race coordinator Kevin Dietz hopes for a big turnout.

You can sign up your pups between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at North First St. and West Main. Proof of vaccination is required. Registration is $5 per dog. Prizes will be given in these categories: Cocktail Franks (16 weeks to 1 year); Frankfurters (1-3 years); Hot Dogs (4-7 years); and Ballpark Franks (8 years and older).

A costume contest begins at 2.

There’s plenty for kids to do, too.

“At the free children’s area, they can decorate pumpkins and do face painting,” said Cari, who also mentioned giveaways and Tribouts’ rides and games.

Still trying to recall Little River Band hits? Here are a few: “It’s a Long Way There,” “Help Is on Its Way,” “Happy Anniversary,” “Reminiscing, Lady,” “Cool Change,” “Lonesome Loser,” “The Night Owls,” “Take It Easy On Me,” “Man On Your Mind,” “We Two,” and “The Other Guy.”

Information: www.bellevilleoktoberfest.com

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