“Yes!” to Beer, Brats, and Kettle Corn

JingLin Huang

Last Friday could have been the beginning of any weekend in September.
White mushroom-shaped craft-shop tents just don’t plant themselves on Main Hall Green for any reason. Neither do classic automobiles just cruise down College Ave.
Your brain should be screaming one thing: “Octoberfest has descended upon us!”
For the uninitiated, Octoberfest is an annual celebration of food and music Appleton-style that has faint Germanic origins.
This year’s Octoberfest started off with a stream of classic cars cruising down College Ave. on Friday evening. Over 400 of the sleekest and snazziest old motors paraded down the “Ave” in “License to Cruise,” which included British makes as well as American models.
Hot drink vendors also made a huge killing that night selling the promise of warmth to cool parched throats.
The muggy weather over Friday night apparently encouraged the growth of more mushroom-shaped tents on the green. Numerous white craft-shop tents sprung up overnight. They were hard to miss, especially if you were caught in a human jam while trying to make your way to Downer for Saturday brunch.
My friends and I decided to venture bravely down College together to take a peek at what was going on.
First stop: Saying hi to a friend working at the beer stand and being told we were “too young” to get anything. Bummer.
Then we went further down where we caught a whiff of burger and brat fry fundraisers for local groups and charities. I got myself a root beer float from the Red Cross booth.
“Yeah, people want to go out while there’s some good weather left,” said senior Amanda Burton. That, and to mingle with people who live in town that they have not seen in a while.
One of the ladies manning the kettle corn stand was chatting animatedly with a friend before breaking off her conversation to attend to a customer.
It wasn’t hard to spot Lawrence students in the crowd. They looked somewhat frazzled and unused to the entire hubbub going on around them.
Benjamin Hane, senior, was holding a delicious-smelling, lightly browned flat brain-shaped cake as I approached him. “Crafts aren’t really my thing,” he said. Yes, Ben, I have to agree with you. Food is far better. Funnel cake simply rocks.
The skies got dark late in the afternoon as rain threatened to dampen the festive air.
We decided to return to campus. One of my friends got a bunch of shiny “faery” posters for her room. Another got a small wooden shelf from the woodwork store. I got my mother a handmade card.
Besides the crafts-and-food fair on Main Hall Green and down College, there was also a German Heritage Day featuring music by the local barbershop chorus, a dance presentation, and a brat fry.
Community Day included performances by local bands and free Lamers trolley rides down College Ave.
Octoberfest wasn’t quite so bad after all, if you joined in the fun. It could only get better from there.