Catholic group organizing fall festival to replace Oktoberfest this year


For many people, the Seymour Oktoberfest is three days and nights of fun, food and fellowship in downtown Seymour.

But for a lot of local churches, service groups and other nonprofit organizations, the festival is a way to raise funds in support of the work they do in the community.

With the 48th annual Oktoberfest canceled this year due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, groups such as Knights of Columbus Council 1252 in Seymour are facing a significant loss of revenue.

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During Oktoberfest, the K of C, which is affiliated with St. Ambrose Catholic Church, runs a German food booth and the beer garden.

To help recoup some of the money they are losing from the cancellation of the 2020 Oktoberfest, the Knights are organizing an event called Spätsommer Fest for Sept. 18 and 19 in the city parking lot behind their building at 118 E. Second St. Spätsommer translates to late summer in German.

The event will run from 3 to 11 p.m. the first night and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. the second night.

Knights member Dave Eggers recently received permission from Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety to block off the parking lot on those dates. He said the event will include food booths and a beer garden on a much smaller scale than Oktoberfest.

Eggers said the Oktoberfest is the Knights’ biggest fundraiser of the year.

“We’ve struggled to try to replace the income we’ve lost from this cancellation,” he said.

The Knights are planning to sponsor the beer garden and sell their famous brats, sauerkraut and German potato salad. But they aren’t the only group that will benefit from the event.

“We are prioritizing local nonprofits and church organizations in hopes of helping them do the same,” he said. “We have several tentative agreements in place, like the Noon Lions and a couple of the churches, already.”

Participating vendors will be required to make a small contribution to offset some of the costs associated with having the event, he said.

Some commercial vendors may be allowed if the Knights can’t find enough nonprofit vendors to participate, Eggers said.

Mayor Matt Nicholson asked what would happen if there is a second wave of COVID-19.

“I don’t mind giving you approval, but I also don’t want to get down to a week before or two weeks before and numbers have shot back up,” he said.

Eggers said no matter what the event is, there has to be the ability to change or cancel plans to keep people safe.

“We’re having that discussion with vendors as they come in,” he said. “Communication is the key.”

If successful, Eggers said similar events may be held next spring and summer.

“We’ve always wanted to sponsor something for our city that benefits us all, and we believe this will do just that,” he said.

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For information or if you are a local nonprofit group wanting to sign up to be a vendor at Knights of Columbus Council 1252’s Spätsommer Fest on Sept. 18 and 19, contact the club at 812-522-2989.

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What: Knights of Columbus Council 1252’s Spätsommer Fest

When: Sept. 18 and 19

Where: Parking lot behind the K of C building at 118 E. Second St. in Seymour


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