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Families turn out for Oktoberfest festivities

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sounds of bluegrass music, the smell of kettle cooked popcorn and a cool breeze greeted visitors at the 15th annual Oktoberfest at Black Forest Villages in Cape Girardeau.

"It's been a pretty nice fall day," said Greg Macke, owner of Black Forest Villages Co. "We saw a lot of people come through and just stay for the entire day."

The Oktoberfest celebration took place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Approximately 1,000 people visited on Saturday and Macke anticipated Sunday's attendance to be the same.

Basketweavers, a blacksmith, candle makers and many more artists demonstrated their crafts at the replica of the 1870s village on Sunday.

Viola Lankford, dressed in 1800s-era costume, sat on a rocking chair weaving traditional egg baskets.

"The shape is different from a regular basket," Lankford said as she wove wooden reeds to form the basket. "There are bubbles in the bottom of this one where most regular baskets are flat. You would use this to collect your eggs in."

For the past 12 years Lankford has performed her craft demonstration at Black Forest Villages. Her baskets were also available to purchase.

While the crafts drew in a large number of visitors, parents brought their children to enjoy the 300-bale straw maze.

Mark and Tammy Ahlvin, of Cape Girardeau, have attended the Oktoberfest for many years. This year the couple brought their two children, Hailey, 6, and Mason, 2.

"We like for the kids to see what's out here," Tammy Ahlvin said. "Hailey did the straw maze but she likes the popcorn the best."

The kettle-cooked popcorn is a favorite treat for the visitors at Black Forest Villages. Arnold and Jean Brunk, otherwise known as Ma and Pa Kettle, have served the popcorn at Oktoberfest for the past 12 years.

"The popcorn is cooked in a big kettle and we put sugar on it," Jean explained. "It's definitely a favorite."

Marv and Kathy Scholl, of Frohna, Mo., made a special trip to Cape Girardeau to attend Oktoberfest.

The couple enjoyed the bluegrass music provided by the band Coyote Creek.

"It's a beautiful day to be here," Kathy said. "The drive up to Black Forest, through the trees is wonderful. Oktoberfest gives you a sense that fall in the air."

jfreeze@semissourian.com


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