The leaves are changing, the beer garden is set up and the Oktoberfest has made its way to downtown Seymour for its 49th edition.
On Thursday evening, the opening ceremonies were held on the North Stage near city hall to crown the Oktoberfest prince and princess and kick off the most exciting weekend in the city.
The opening ceremonies could’ve been easily mistaken for the Seymour High School Marching Owls and Guard show in what was essentially a clinic on what SHS football fans might hear at halftime.
Around 100 students took up all of the space in front of the North Stage to do renditions of music that those young and old could recognize.
Rapper Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby” from 2021 was a recent pop hit that the band performed and sounded stage-ready since the song features a prominent horn section that was only amplified with the power of a large high school band.
The band then went into a medley that weaved together The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars,” Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers.
SHS Band Director Kevin Cottrill gave a brief intro to each song and said all of the songs were about relationships that hit the skids.
He said “Toxic” was about toxicity that can happen in relationships.
“If you could possibly believe that,” Cottrill said.
“Mr. Brightside” is a song about a man learning his girlfriend was cheating on him after seeing her with someone else in a Las Vegas casino, and while the song title sounds positive, the lyrics lean on the side desperation.
“Toxic” and “Mr. Brightside” are two 21st century pop hits with rapid-fire tempos, but the SHS had full command of both renditions.
SHS cheerleaders danced to a mid-tempo “Toxic” that added emotional weight to the musicality.
“Mr. Brightside” was an upbeat number that hopefully didn’t give carpal tunnel syndrome to the horn section playing the song’s melody.
The band was playing at the Oktoberfest after all, and closed its performance out with the chicken dance with friends and family of band members dancing all around the band and in the street.
Once the band ended, Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson proclaimed Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 of this year to be the official days of the Seymour Oktoberfest.
“Today marks the official beginning of the 49th annual Seymour Oktoberfest,” Nicholson said. “Citizens from near and far join together during the festival time to be thankful for the harvest and blessings that we have received. Whereas the true spirit of our old world heritage shall be remembered during the ensuing days, and we will join with family, friends and neighbors to celebrate.”
Scottsburg-based food truck Bob and Kev’s BBQ won first place in the food category for the booth awards, and Aunt Jeanetta’s Funnel Cakes won second place. Get Loaded won best new booth.
Bob Nevils and Kevin Smallwood are the titular owners of the food truck.
Smallwood said they’ve operated at four Oktoberfests, and it’s a homecoming when the truck comes to the city.
“We’re from Scottsburg, but I’ve worked in Seymour for 32 years,” he said. “I have family and friends here and family and friends there. It’s just a good weekend. It’s just nice to see everybody and enjoy the downtown festivities.”
Angie Hays is part of the Bob and Kev’s team, along with Jean Nevils, and said she went all in when decorating the truck with wreaths, pumpkins, mums and leaves.
“I had a major fall vision because it’s a beautiful fall weekend,” she said.
Get Loaded is based in Cincinnati and owned by Nick Conner.
Their menu features loaded burgers and fries and homemade lemonade, tea and Arnold Palmers.
Conner said he had been enjoying his time at the Oktoberfest and thought he probably won because of his food but wondered how many other new booths there were.
Beta Kappa Chapter 697 Epsilon Sigma Alpha International sponsored this year’s prince and princess contest in which eight girls and one boy competed to become Oktoberfest royalty.
This year’s winners were Prince Reed Barlow, 9, son of Amanda and Josh Barlow, and Princess Lela Stout, 7, daughter of Blaine and Danny Stout.
The winners were decided by who raised the most money by the Sept. 28 deadline.
Beth White of Beta Kappa said more than $10,000 was raised by this year’s contestants, and all of the money will go back into the community.
Both winners received a bicycle provided by Beta Kappa and a bag full of prizes.
Barlow said he wasn’t surprised he is this year’s Oktoberfest prince since he was the only boy who competed.
Both were asked what they would change about Seymour since they’re royalty now.
Barlow said he would make gas prices go down, and Stout said she would make every day the Oktoberfest.