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Family Fun

Oktoberfest to raise funds for Downers Grove District 58 Foundation

Volunteers Amy Gray and Todd Bogwill clap as Frances Rinaldo sings "Who Stole the Keeshka" with the Frank "K" and Company band at Downers Grove Grade School District 58's 2017 Oktoberfest in downtown Downers Grove.
Volunteers Amy Gray and Todd Bogwill clap as Frances Rinaldo sings "Who Stole the Keeshka" with the Frank "K" and Company band at Downers Grove Grade School District 58's 2017 Oktoberfest in downtown Downers Grove.

DOWNERS GROVE – Traditional German food and beverages coupled with live music and children’s activities will come together Sept. 14 and 15 as the Education Foundation of Downers Grove Grade School District 58 holds its fifth annual Oktoberfest.

The event, which is one of the foundation’s primary fundraisers, will be from 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 14 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 15 in the parking lot adjacent to the Downers Grove Public Library.

The foundation relies on the money to provide scholarships and grants. The organization also sponsors programs at district schools throughout the year.

"Friday night is going to be fun," said Janet Alikpala, a foundation member and festival organizer.

In fact, this is the first time Oktoberfest will begin on Friday night.

"A lot of people said, 'Why don't you try a Friday night?' " Alikpala said.

The foundation is hopeful the Friday kickoff will attract commuters getting off the train, she said.

Oktoberfest will offer traditional German fare and beverages, as well as children's activities and karaoke and high school bratwurst- and doughnut-eating contests that will pit students from Downers Grove North and South high schools against one another.

"It's fun," Alikpala said.

Oktoberfest relies on volunteers. Anyone interested in helping out can sign up at shawurl.com/3a51. Several three-hour volunteer slots are open in registration, setup, the Kids Zone, beverage tent and other areas. Volunteers receive free admission to the event.

"It's a big undertaking," Alikpala said of setting up and running the event. "We're really pushing the importance of raising money for District 58."

The Kids Zone has been expanded this year to include more activities for teens, such as a Velcro wall.

"It's more teen oriented," Alikpala said.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and teenagers ages 14 to 17. Tickets are available at the door or shawurl.com/3a50. The event is free for children 13 and younger who are accompanied by a paying adult, as well as volunteers and active military personnel and veterans with military ID.

Oktoberfest’s entertainment will feature several popular area bands including TKO Acoustics, Coverlicious, Stephen Peterson and ARRA on Sept. 14 and Wayne Messmer Big Band, Tim Curran, Blue Mud and North of Eight on Sept. 15.

"These are bands that people go out of their way to see," Alikpala said.

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If you go

WHAT: Oktoberfest

WHEN: 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 14 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 15

WHERE: parking lot adjacent to Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St., Downers Grove

COST: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and teenagers ages 14 to 17, free for children 13 and younger with paying adult, volunteers, active military personnel and veterans

INFO: shawurl.com/3a50

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