The City of Crown Point continued their warm tradition of celebrating the start of the fall season with their community Oktoberfest celebration, now in its 13th year. The free annual event, organized by Mayor David Uran and the Office of Special Events for the City of Crown Point, regularly sees thousands of area residents gather at the Franciscan Health Pavilion and Amphitheater at Bulldog Park.
“This event began back in 2008 during Mayor Uran’s first term as mayor here,” said Diana Bosse, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Crown Point. “He wanted to have something to close out the year here in the city, somewhere where friends and families could gather together one last time here before the temperature drops. It’s just a really fun way to end the summer season.”
The event typically has several thousand visitors each year. Although this year’s crowd was expected to be somewhat smaller, Bosse said that public support and enthusiasm for the event was particularly strong.
“I think that people are really looking for any way they can find to be able to get outdoors and enjoy some time together before the end of the year. They just want to spend time and have fun with their loved ones, while also exercising social distancing and staying healthy and safe.”
Besse said that the event was completely free to attend, as always.
“There is no cost to the community. We’re not even charging vendor fees to the vendors who graciously came out here today,” Besse said. “We just want them to come out here and have a successful day and hopefully recoup some of the other events they missed out on this year.”
Among the food vendors available at the event this year was local favorite, Carriage Court Pizza.
“We’ve been doing all the local Crown Point events for the last 15 years,” said Carriage Court Pizza general manager, Kiersten Thiel. “We always enjoy any opportunity we have to be able to come out and give back to the community. We just really appreciate being out here, serving the community that has always helped support us.”
“We’re always very happy to help give back when we can, and it also helps to make this event possible, and to bring something really special to our community,” Bosse said.
The event was sponsored in part by Beck’s Crown Bakery, who provided the pies for the eating contest. Bulldog Park provided passes to those who won the contest and Culvers provided gift certificates. There was also a cornhole tournament, with the winner taking home a beautiful trophy.
Live music was provided by local artists, including Chad Clifford and Keith Jackson & Triple Dose. Headlining the musical entertainment this year was local band Nawty.
In addition to the live music and delicious food at the event, there was also an apple sauce eating contest for the kids and a pumpkin pie contest for the adults.
Phil and Jenny Vandstra drove up from Demotte with their family to enjoy the event. Their daughter, Jenna, 9, won the applesauce contest.
“I knew I was going to win, I love applesauce!” said Jenna, who easily downed her bowl of the tasty seasonal treat in well under the allotted two minutes.
“It wasn’t hard to do at all, I just slurped it all up!” said Jenna, proudly holding the gift certificates she received.
Other vendors were available, offering balloon animals, lighted wands, and pinwheels to further brighten up the event.
Sisters Anna Argadine and Katy Livesay are Crown Point natives who regularly come out to enjoy Oktoberfest. Katy even wore her very best dirndl dress, authentic German garb brought straight from the motherland.
“We love coming here to enjoy Oktoberfest!” said Argadine.
“Hey, it’s 2020 and we’re all just looking to have as much fun as we can with what’s left of this year,” said Livesay. “I love my dirndl and I will take any opportunity to put it on and come out to celebrate.”
“We’re just very happy that Bulldog Park is open and we’re all able to come out here and have a great time. I think they have a really good turnout here this year, with all the people who missed out on the other fests like the Corn Roast, the Taste of Crown Point, and all those other things that were cancelled this year due to COVID-19; I think people are just really happy to be able to be out here right now,” said Argadine.
For more information about this and other events happening around Crown Point, visit their website at www.crownpoint.in.gov/.