Evans City Oktoberfest ushers in autumn for 27th year
The Evans City Oktoberfest at the end of this month carries on a tradition started 27 years ago.
Thousands of people are expected to pour onto North Jackson Street and Wahl Avenue, just one block away from where it all started on Main Street. Many of the volunteers are related to the late Paul Wingard, founder of the event. The festival runs from Sept. 20 to 22.
“My husband started it to promote Evans City, and it has grown quite considerably,” said Lucille Wingard.
More than 50 food and craft vendors will set up each day to promote business in Evans City, a growing staple of the event.
“This is one of the biggest things that I would say that goes on in the community,” said Marlene Domhoff, Lucille's sister.
The one thing that will be different is Saturday night fireworks, the first time that fireworks will be on display in the festival's history, beginning at 8 p.m.
“We're hoping to do it as a yearly thing for the Oktoberfest and keep building our Saturday night every year,” said Marla Bird, Domhoff's daughter.
Other entertainment includes the Evans City Senior Center Drum Circle on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and accordionist Pat Septak performing at 5 p.m.
The Evans City Fire Department will host an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. on Saturday. A parade, a mainstay of the festival, will then take place at 11 a.m.
Waldo Young, the One Man Band, will perform at 12:30 p.m., and The Jentz will perform at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, children can play and learn about fire safety in Cranberry Township's Mobile Fire House from 1 to 4 p.m., and they can also compete in a tractor pulling contest at 2:30 p.m.
“We're really trying to work on gearing it toward children,” said Pam Volz, the Wingards' granddaughter. “We have rides for children and a petting zoo, too.”
From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday there will be a car cruise, another festival staple. Magician David Lawrence will also perform at 2:30 p.m.
The Evans City Fire Department, where Paul Wingard volunteered for more than 40 years, will provide games throughout the weekend.
Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media.