Oktoberfest organizer says event will return next year

Heidi Schuerstedt outside her business, Heidi's Bakery, in Paddock Lake. /Karen Mahoney photo

If you enjoyed Old Settlers Oktoberfest, held last Saturday in Paddock Lake, there’s some good news for you from the person who spearheaded the event.

Heidi Schuerstedt of Heidi’s Bakery, who thought up the event originally as a gift of sorts for her German-born husband, said she is planning for Oktoberfest 2012 already. A tentative date is even set.

“We learned a lot,” Schuerstedt said of the committee that organized this year’s event. “The team is ready to go again.”

The fest, in its first year and for which planning started just in July, drew somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 people to Old Settlers County Park on Highway 50 on Oct. 1. The event, with free admission, included a number of activities including hammerschlagen, German hair braiding, a dachshund  dog race, a car show, children’s activities and German food and drink for sale. Fireworks also were launched in the evening.

“The biggest comment was what a wonderful community feeling,” Schuerstedt said. She credited the wealth of free activities as key to creating that impression.

“What I loved the most is that it really brought together every age … and gave them a nice afternoon,” Schuerstedt said.

The planning for this year’s event started with a small group of Schuerstedt, Paddock Lake village President Marlene Goodson and Jon Rudie, general manager of Kenosha County Parks, joined shortly afterwards by county Supervisor Mike Underhill and the Westosha-Salem Kiwanis Club.

Schuerstedt also credited County Executive Jim Kreuser with helping the event succeed.

“Without his support we would not have had the venue,” Schuerstedt said.

Ultimately the event had contributions in some form from 55 area businesses, Schuerstedt said.

“The way it happened was businesses and community pulling together to make it happen,” Schuerstedt said.

Some changes are already being kicked around for next year, like more children’s activities. Another change is the date, which will be earlier next year. Schuerstedt is targeting Sept. 22 for the event in 2012. Before you think that’s odd, Schuerstedt points out that in Germany, Oktoberfest starts in late September and ends in early October.

Note: Heidi’s Bakery is a westofthei.com sponsor. — DH


One Comment

  1. The Octoberfest was wonderful. It was a GREAT community affair. Heidi deserves a big round of APPLAUSE !!!

    The food , beer and entertainment were fantastic…..and the fireworks were great!

    Thanks for a job well done!!!

    Gil and Pam

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