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Oktoberfest events in Collier, Heidelberg worth the planning process

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
File photo
Rockin Rowdy, a Border Collie mix, leaps over Tad Bowen during a performance by Muttley Crew Flying Dogs of Erie, PA during Green Tree Octoberfest on Sept. 15, 2012.

It's only August, but for some communities October is right around the corner.

Or rather, Oktober.

Heidelberg and Collier both will hold their third annual Oktoberfests next month — Collier's on Sept. 14 at Collier Park and Heidelberg's on Sept. 28 at its community park.

“We started planning last year, the night of Oktoberfest,” said Lisa Novak, Collier Township director of parks and recreation. Novak came to Collier in March 2011, giving her just a few months to plan the township's second Oktoberfest.

“There was not a lot of time to plan it,” she said. “So what I did that evening (of Oktoberfest), is I wrote down all the things I wanted to do better for this year.”

The process is similar in Heidelberg.

“We start planning the day after it ends,” said borough Manager Joe Kauer. “We have a briefing after each year's Oktoberfest about what to improve for next year.”

The detailed planning, both said, starts in late winter.

“Starting around March and April, we start looking at sponsors and sending out letters,” Novak said. Business people, she said, start planning their donation dollars early in the year, making it important to reach out for sponsorships at the same time.

Now, it's about logistics. “We have to work out with the electricians and public works guys where everything will be situated — how many booths we need and moving and putting up tents and tables and chairs,” she said. “It's a lot of work.”

It's also time to promote the festival, Kauer said.

“Right now, the big push is on advertising,” he said. “We have yard signs we're trying to distribute throughout the South Hills areas. We just want to spread the word.”

Planning is on track.

“We're at a good place,” he said. “This will be our third year, and I think we have a good handle on what works and what we can accomplish. If any town is able to pull off Oktoberfest, it should be one called Heidelberg.”

Both festivals will include live music, including traditional German sounds and other local bands. German fare also will be for sale at food booths at the respective festivals, including a booth by Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier in Heidelberg and bratwurst, potato pancakes and haluski in Collier.

Kauer said the borough still is looking for craft vendors and community volunteers to staff the borough's booths.

Novak said the Collier festival has grown.

“We must have done something right last year, because I have vendors calling just from word of mouth.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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