Manteno Oktoberfest still going strong at 20

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Bourbonnais has its Friendship Festival, Bradley its Fish Fry and Kankakee its Merchant Street MusicFest. Not to be outdone is Manteno with its Oktoberfest — a crown jewel.

The village will celebrate its 20th annual Manteno Oktoberfest, opening at 5 p.m. today and running through Sunday. The event also signifies the start of autumn in the area and is one that keeps growing.

“It’s been a sizable event for our community,” said Sarah Marion, president of the Manteno Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the signature event. “It keeps people coming back because it’s consistent. We keep the events people like, and we keep adding new things each year.”

Music has been one of the focal points for Oktoberfest, and all the acts are new this year, said Marion, who also works as the event coordinator for the village.

“The theme is ‘Dancing Thru the Decades,’ so we kept that in mind with the musical events,” she said. “Thursday is country night with Suburban Cowboys, and Friday we have the Sixteen Candles band, which is music from the ’80s. Saturday is Too White Crew, which is kind of hip-hop ’90s music, and Sunday is the Neverly Brothers, which is oldies.

“We try to hit what everybody likes.”

Held in conjunction with Oktoberfest are the villagewide garage sale days Friday through Sunday, which will help attract even a larger crowd.

“The garage sale number is probably around 90, so there will be a lot of people in Manteno,” Marion said. “The turnout is really incredible.”

The highlight of Oktoberfest is the Lighted Parade, and it begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

“The Lighted Parade attracts the largest number of people, but every night there is something going on,” Marion said.

Thursday is Harley-Davidson Bike night, the pet parade is on Friday, and there’s a family bike ride and a bean bag tournament on Sunday.

The pet parade begins at 6 p.m. in Legion Park.

“This has really grown a lot, and everyone has gotten real creative,” Marion said.

The times for Oktoberfest are

5 to 10 p.m. today, 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. In addition to the music and food, there are carnival rides, a beer tent each night, magic show, bingo, helicopter rides and more. For a complete lists of events, visit the Manteno Chamber’s Facebook page.

Oktoberfest is a Chamber event, but there are more than 30 sponsors, and Marion said the Chamber enjoys giving back as part of the mission.

“The proceeds go back to the Chamber, but we donate a large portion of the proceeds back to the community,” she said. “We have a lot of organizations that help us out — the police, fire, Indiana Oaks, youth football and others — so we donate a large portion of the proceeds to those organizations.”

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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