MIFFLINBURG — Raise your stein, shout “Prost!” and drink to the festival that celebrates beer, October and all things German.
Mifflinburg Heritage and Revitalization Association will host their annual Oktoberfest on Friday from 1 to 11 p.m., and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the VFW Carnival Grounds, 10770 Old Turnpike Road (Rt. 45), just west of town.
New this year, in answer to attendees’ requests, are Oktoberfest wine glasses available for purchase when sampling the Shade Mountain wine. Beer steins and clear mugs will be available, as always.
Festival organizers are thrilled to be holding the event this year after last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, some modifications will need to be made, the biggest being the amount of kegged beer available, said Heidi Chriswell, executive director of MHRA.
“We’re really fortunate to be able to host the event, with everything happening in the world,” she said. “Because of COVID, they’re not kegging that much. If restaurants are closed, then keg beer is spoiling, so they’re just not kegging as much.”
MHRA was able to order a variety of German beers, although not quite as many kegs as they had hoped. People wanting a particular brand are advised to come early.
“What makes our festival unique is we really pride ourselves on the fact that our beer comes from Germany,” Chriswell said. The only exception to that is Rusty Rail’s Oktoberfest, which is made in Mifflinburg.
The idea for an Oktoberfest in Mifflinburg was started by the late Rudi Skucek, an Austrian native who retired to the hometown of his wife, Joannah (Skucek) McGregor. After starting the town’s now famous Christkindl Market, Skucek convinced friends that Mifflinburg, with its predominantly German heritage, would be perfect for an annual Oktoberfest, as well.
“We just thought it would be nice, being that this is a German-settled town, to have an Oktoberfest,” said Larry Mitchell, who heads up the committee for Oktoberfest. “We can’t mimic Munich, by any means, but we have the same beer you would drink if it was there.”
Along with the beer and wine there will be entertainment, including keg tossing and the “Munich Mug Lift,” in which participants see how long they can hold four large mugs of beer with arms stretched out before them.
“It can get a little rowdy,” Mitchell said. “People get to hooting and hollering, cheering on their favorite.”
Live entertainment and German dancers round out the day with music and fun.
“It’s very traditional,” Mitchell said. “People do come to dance. You’ll see a lot of people on the dance floor dancing to waltzes and polkas.”
German and American food will be offered, including bratwurst, knockwurst, hot dogs, French fries, pulled pork, beef and chicken, brick oven pizza, grilled cheese, sauerkraut chowder, schnitzel, drunken cupcakes and whoopie pies, and a variety of pastries.
“It’s a great day to hang out with friends, eating, drinking and listening to music, and having fun,” Chriswell said.
“On Oktoberfest, everybody’s German,” Mitchell said, “just like everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.”
Chriswell added a special note of gratitude to local sponsors who make the event possible, especially Mifflinburg Bank & Trust Co., which pays for the mugs and steins, Stahl-Sheaffer Engineering for wine glasses and Ritz-Craft Corporation for the tent. Other sponsors include T-Square Drafting, Roupp Funeral Home, Mid-Penn Energy, Heritage Printing & Design, Susquehanna Community Bank, Lawton/ Erie Insurance, Buffalo Valley Wealth Plus, Bing’s Auto LLC, Rusty Rail Brewing Co., Wehr’s Beverage, K&S Music Center, HL Klose & Sons, Chilly Willy’s and Service 1st Federal Credit Union.
For more information, visit “Mifflinburg Oktoberfest” on Facebook, www.mifflinburgpa.com or call 570-966-1666.
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to CindyOHerman@gmail.com