OctoberFete is Avoyelles’ newest festival

German fun with a French twist

Break out the lederhosen and peasant blouses. Put away your boudin and pick up the bratwurst. This Saturday (Oct. 26) a distinctly German tradition takes on a decidedly French flavor in this area’s first “OctoberFete Avoyelles.”

Cottonport Bank will host the event from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of the Marksville bank branch. Proceeds will be donated to several local non-profit groups and programs.

There may not be an “oompah band” -- unless there’s a tuba player, accordionist and clarinetist with a polka repertoire passing through Marksville Saturday morning - but the Pete & Paul Band will provide live entertainment for festival-goers.

“We’ve asked Pete & Paul to brush up on some German tunes,” event coordinator and bank Marketing Director Morgana Gates said. “I’m sure we’ll have the ‘Chicken Dance’ and maybe a few other surprises.”

(“Edelweiss” anyone?)

The event will feature a 25-mile and 3-mile bike race and a 5K and 1-mile running event.

“We are also partnering with the Senior Olympics by sponsoring the national qualifying for the 10K and 5K races,” Gates said. “We will have Senior Olympics runners from across the state -- and some from neighboring states who missed their states’ qualifying races -- in town for the event.”

She said there will be about 60 Senior Olympians for OctoberFete.

MARKSVILLE’S BIRTHDAY

The Marksville Chamber of Commerce will also present a birthday party for Marksville, complete with a birthday cake.

Marksville was founded as a trading post in 1794, but the earliest notation of it as a settlement is on an 1809 map -- so that has been adopted as the city’s official birth date.

So, depending on your preference, help Marksville celebrate its 210th anniversary or its 225th while enjoying OctoberFete.

And while you are listening to some old storyteller talk on and on about how Marc Eliché settled here because he was too lazy to fix his broken wagon wheel, you may want to drown out the sound by visiting that historic event’s modern namesake -- the Broken Wheel Brewery.

Yes, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest -- sorry, OctoberFete -- without beer.

“For several years we at the bank have been saying the most agreeable weather in this area is in October and we should have a festival -- a big one -- in this community,” Gates said.

“Octoberfest is a natural choice. And, since Octoberfest is all about beer and we have our very own micro-brewery -- Broken Wheel Brewery -- right here in Marksville, it was a natural,” she noted.

Gates said bank officials decided to stop waiting for another organization to pick up the challenge and do it.

“We’re a community bank and we decided to do this for the community,” she said. “We merged our love for this community with this community’s love of beer and came up with this event.”

Just in time for the event, Broken Wheel has developed a special beer, “Hunter’s Moon Oktoberfest,” which became available Oct. 15.

There will be no gate fee for the event, but there will be costs associated with various activities to raise money for worthwhile charities.

COSTS OF EVENTS

The 25-mile bike race will cost $40 to enter. The 3-mile bike race and the 5K and 1-mile runs will each cost $25.

Racers will receive a goody bag that includes a T-shirt for runners, jersey for bikers, a beer stein (see photo) and an REI gift card of $20 for bikers and $10 for runners.

Racers will also get free German food after their race and a 15-minute massage.

A haunted house will cost $2 per ticket, face-painting will be $1 and tickets for an inflatable bouncy house and obstacle course will each cost $1.

The aforementioned beer will cost $7. Partakers will purchase a glass beer stein for $7 and Broken Wheel will fill ‘er up. There will be free refills (within reason).

There will also be a costume contest, which is free to enter. “We encourage people to come dressed up in costume, especially German costumes,” Gates said. “We want to make this an authentically German festival, but in our own French style.”

Proceeds will benefit the Fox Theatre, CASA, Teen Court and Silver Lining Pie Company, locally. It will also benefit Kent House and Kisatchie Bike Club in Alexandria and the Kiwanis Club in Pointe Coupee Parish.

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Marksville, LA 71351
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