Vinton Fall Festival/Oktoberfest/Rocktoberfest hugely successful in its inaugural year

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By Debbie Adams

The Vinton Fall Festival/Oktoberfest featured German foods and German bands like Wandersmann.

The general consensus from organizers and those who attended is that Vinton’s first combined Fall Festival/Oktoberfest/Rocktoberfest celebration on October 5 was a huge success.

The Town of Vinton, the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce, Big Lick Entertainment, and Twin Creeks Brewing Company partnered for the event which occupied several blocks of downtown Vinton and the Vinton Farmers’ Market.

J.D. Sutphin of Big Lick Entertainment had originally planned an Oktoberfest in Vinton this fall with German-style food, German music, and German beer. He described Oktoberfest as “an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810 with many cities across the world hosting Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.”

The Vinton Fall Festival, now in its 17th year, is always held in October as well. Discussions ensued between the town, Chamber, and Big Lick Entertainment resulting in combining the annual festival and Oktoberfest events. Twin Creeks Brewing, always ready for a celebration and great supporters of the town, joined to extend the event into the evening hours.

On October 5, downtown Vinton was filled with families enjoying the cooler weather, in sharp contrast to temperatures near 90 the day before.

“Amazing day is the first thing that comes to my head!” said Angie Chewning, Executive Director of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Many thanks to everyone involved. Saturday was a perfect example of why we do what we do – to showcase the town and its businesses and welcome folks to our town to show them what it’s like to Play InVinton. We want to keep promoting Eat/Shop/Play/Live InVinton.”

The day started off with the annual Breakfast Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at the VFW and ended up over 12 hours later at Twin Creeks Brewing with an outdoor concert.

The live entertainment was impressive – from the bands at the Vinton Farmers’ Market where the Oktoberfest portion of the event was held, to local talent on the Municipal Building Stage, and the final two bands on the outdoor stage at Twin Creeks.

Oktoberfest music at the Market included German music by the Wandersmann Band and classic bluegrass by Woundtight.

Entertainment at the Municipal Stage included the 2019 Vinton Doggy Pageant, followed by a Zumba and Pound demonstration from the Lancerlot, Super Kicks, Mish Moves, Floyd Ward Dance, the Fame Allstars, and some very talented singers from the Susan Lewis Music Studio.

Winners in the Doggy Pageant included in first place, Brynn, a Pit/Lab owned by Jennifer Foley, dressed as a bumble bee; Gracie, second place, a Chihuahua in a unicorn costume, owned by Hannah Franklin; and Lexi, a Shih Tzu in her “Pretty in Pink” costume who came in third for owner Sharon Doss. “Best Team” honors went to Parti Yorkies Leo and Hamilton, owned by Tara Beeman. They were dressed as Batman and Superman.

The festival included dozens of craft, food, and retail vendors, along with non-profit organizations, churches, and several politicians taking the opportunity to campaign.

You could buy vintage William Byrd High School yearbooks or receive a free charm from the Carilion Clinic “Every Woman’s Life” group, or even adopt a pet from the RCACP (Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection).

Town of Vinton bags and mugs were on sale by Brook Ludy Art, along with Cub Scout popcorn from Troop 235, pumpkins from Gabby at the Market, flower arrangements, and so much more.

Downtown merchants, like Rustic Creations, D.R. Music, and Cyndi’s opened their doors to festival-goers.

There was storytelling at the Vinton History Museum, along with a Kids Zone with bouncy houses, a cow milking experience provided by Vinton attorney/farmer Bruce Mayer, and a train ride at the Municipal Building.

A dinosaur was on the loose, along with stilt walkers in German dress, and Marlow Ferguson from Star City Playhouse in Victorian garb handing out flyers for their upcoming productions.

Food options included bagels, several varieties of BBQ, Duck Donuts, burgers, German sausages, a beer garden, and new beer releases from Twin Creeks.

“The town sincerely appreciates the hard work of the many partners who made this year’s Festival a great success– the Vinton Chamber, Big Lick Entertainment, Twin Creeks Brewing Company, the many businesses who sponsored vendor tables and the tremendous efforts of our town staff members with Community Programs, the Police Department and Public Works,” said Vinton’s Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters.

Beginning at 4 p.m. the festival moved to Twin Creeks for Rocktoberfest for performances by the Eric Wayne Duo and later the Hardrive Crew who were dressed in lederhosen for the occasion.

“Twin Creeks Brewing could not have asked for a better turnout or better bands for our first Rocktoberfest event,” said Andy Bishop, who owns Twin Creeks along with brother Jason Bishop and friend Barry Robertson. “The Town of Vinton, the War Memorial staff and Vinton Public Works did an excellent job helping us put this celebration together and we are very appreciative for that help.  We also want to thank all the folks who came out to celebrate with us and we look forward to doing it again for our third anniversary celebration on November 2.”

“I’d love to thank the Vinton Police Department and especially the Public Works Department,” said Chasity Barbour, Director of Community Programs for the Town of Vinton. “We could not do any of these events without them. Thank you to the entertainment/performers and all the support from their parents, grandparents and bystanders at the Municipal Building stage.”

“I think this event is just the start to what Vinton really is about– family and fun all in one little town,” Barbour said. “I look forward to our future town events with the Chamber.”

For more photos from the Vinton Fall Festival/Oktoberfest/Rocktoberfest, check out The Vinton Messenger Facebook page.