This article was published in the print and online editions of the Lansing City Pulse on October 7.
By Nicole LaChance
It’s not often one can wear lederhosen in Lansing without eliciting stares from curious passerby.
However, this weekend marks the magical time of year when leather shorts and suspenders are considered perfectly acceptable evening wear: That’s right, Oktoberfest is once again upon us.
The sixth annual Old Town Oktoberfest is being held Friday and Saturday at Burchard Park, at the corner of Turner Street and Grand River Avenue, in Lansing. It is the only German-themed Oktoberfest event in mid-Michigan and features authentic German food, live music, dancing and, of course, plenty of beer.
“The north Lansing community was, at one point, a predominantly German community, so it’s a great way to celebrate north Lansing’s history,” said Brittney Hoszkiw, executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association, who is organizing the event.
The festival kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, with a performance by Linda Lee and Wild Bill. Lee, a singer and accordionist, is the house entertainment for The Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, and Wild Bill is the fiddler in her house band. Following the performance, polka and dance band the Hy-Notes takes the stage.
There will also be a kids’ tent with authentic, educational German activities organized by the Michigan State University German Club and a German instrument petting zoo.
The celebration continues Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. with a performance by German-themed band The Happy Wonderers. At 5:45 p.m., the Zakopane Polish Dancers perform and give free dance lessons to festival attendees. They are followed by The Polish Muslims, a Hamtramck-based polka-rock band.
In addition to musical performances, attendees also have their pick of German food and beer to enjoy. Food is being provided by Lansing restaurant Restaurant Mediteran and the Grand Grillin’ food cart, which is known for its Vicki Chicken. There is also an extensive drink selection, which includes several Oktoberfest selections as well as familiar favorites like Samuel Adams. Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale and hard cider from Uncle John’s Cider Mill will also be available, as well as alcohol-free drink options.
Proceeds from Oktoberfest benefit the OTCA, which works to revitalize the Old Town neighborhood of Lansing. The organization focuses on business recruitment, positive marketing and neighborhood beautification in Old Town, Hoszkiw said.
Attendees can park at the Eyde Building on Hagadorn Road in East Lansing and take a free shuttle to the festival. Parking is also available on the streets of Old Town and surrounding areas. Handicap parking is available at the site of the festival. There will also be free valet parking for bikes.
Burchard Park, at the corner of Turner Street and Grand River Avenue, in Lansing
6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7; 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8
$13 in advance; $17 at the door for adults, $13 for seniors before 4 p.m. Saturday
Ticket price includes two-day admission to the festival, three food and drink tickets and a souvenir beer mug. (517) 485-4283