Knights of Columbus hosts second spring festival in downtown Seymour

Oktoberfest doesn’t occur until the first weekend in October, but this past weekend, people were able to get their festival fix with live music, food, beverages and craft vendors in downtown Seymour.

Knights of Columbus Council 1252 held its second Frühlingsfest — German for “spring festival” — on Friday and Saturday in the B and O Railroad Parking Lot behind the Knights of Columbus at 118 E. Second St.

This year’s event was the third festival organized by the Knights of Columbus since 2020.

Spätsommer Fest was held in late summer of that year, hence the name, as a way to give the city an event similar to Oktoberfest since it was canceled that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the success of that event, the Knights of Columbus decided to hold a spring festival, and Frühlingsfest was born in the spring of 2021.

Mark Hancock, a Knight of Columbus member and event volunteer, said Friday afternoon that everything was going very good.

Other reasons behind Frühlingsfest, Hancock said, are to celebrate that spring is here and to raise money for local charities.

Hancock said 94% of all profits from the festival will go back into the community.

He said his favorite thing about the festival was seeing people in the community come together and have a good time.

All future editions of Frühlingsfest will be held on the second weekend in May, Hancock said.

Seymour High School freshman Gary Lee attended the festival with his father, David Lee.

He said he’d heard about the festival from his school bus driver, Mark Nolan, who told him there was a “mini Oktoberfest” going on downtown.

Lee said he normally goes to the area where the festival is held with his father because they are both train enthusiasts and like to watch them pass by.

Gary ate a fish sandwich from the Dudleytown Conservation Club, while David had a tenderloin from the Knights of Columbus.

Both said they normally purchase those food items from the Oktoberfest and would go to Frühlingsfest again.

David said he was enjoying the weather because it wasn’t too humid and that it was a good night with beautiful music.

“It’s a beautiful evening,” Lee said. “You can‘t beat it.”

North Vernon band The Ertels and Seymour’s Bad Medicine played Friday night.

Saturday featured Forrest Turner of Medora and local party band The Jackson Way.

The Ertels are named after the fact that three of the band’s members are related. Andy Ertel sings and plays guitar with his brother, Kevin Ertel, who plays guitar, and son, David Ertel, who plays keyboard.

Bassist Bobby Burns and Zach “Juice” Derringer round out the rest of the band’s lineup.

David Ertel said his family’s last name rhymes with turtle and they had a nice, warm gig at Frühlingsfest.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m a fan of the summer, so I’m all for the heat.”

Andy said they played at last year’s Frühlingsfest, and the show Friday went great.

“It’s a fun time,” he said. “This crowd is a super crowd.”

While inclement weather came through Saturday, the stage set up was moved beneath a tent, and the festivities continued as planned.

Forrest Turner said he has loved playing at both Frühlingsfests, and the crowds have been great every time.

“They were really good,” he said. “Everybody sat underneath in the beer tent and were really into it and attentive.”

Bad Medicine’s Frühlingsfest show was the first since the passing of their bass player, Dr. Luyen Le, earlier this year.

Steve Deweese, who plays rhythm guitar and sings for the band, said Le was replaced by founding member David Hartung, and the crowd Saturday night was fun and receptive.

“It felt like we had our water wings on again, but we got a lot of good reactions,” he said.

Band members wore T-shirts that said “#4LUY” in tribute to their former bandmate during the show.

The band also consists of Monica Kriete on lead vocals and keyboard, Kris Williams on lead guitar, Kevin Mills on drums and John Fye as sound engineer.

Deweese said Hartung’s return was a natural inclusion to the band and called him a Swiss Army knife that has also contributed harmonica, accordion and backing vocals to the band.

He said it felt good to play music with people that are close to him.

“We’re not doing this with any delusions of grandeur that we’ll be playing at Bonnaroo (Music and Arts Festival) in the next couple of years because it’s a fun outlet for people that like to play music,” he said. “We’ve got careers and things like families and obligations, so to get together with people you truly like and play music, it’s just fun for us.”