By Jim Balow
Courtesy photo by G.L. Callahan, Fountain Hobby Center
A German oompah-style polka band from Parkersburg will play at the West Side beer garden on Saturday.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If you like brats and sauerkraut, polka music and, above all, beer, make plans for OktoberWest — West Side Main Street’s version of the traditional Bavarian beer blowout.
Kids are welcome at the main event, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 along Bigley Avenue between Washington Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. But for the second year of the festival’s short history, organizers have added OktoberWest Kids — a series of free events aimed specifically at children.
“From 11 to 3 there will be events all up and down Washington Street, starting with the Teddy Bear Fair at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital,” said Libby Ballard, a volunteer with West Side Main Street.
A KRT trolley will shuttle kids and parents among the various Washington Street locations, Ballard said.
“The next stop would be the grassy lawn beside Fountain Hobby Center. There will be pumpkin painting, a bounce house and other activities.”
In addition, area merchants will hold sidewalk sales, she said.
“The third stop for kids is Stonewall Jackson Middle School. Kanawha County Public Library will do crafts where kids can make something they can take home. And we’ll also do a cornhole tournament for kids, with prizes.
“The last stop is Emmanuel Baptist Church, at the corner of Washington and Florida, which will host a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Teams can register in advance or you can sign up that day and be put on a team.”
Starting at 4, the area around Kelley’s Mens Shop will be turned into a traditional German beer garden, Ballard said. Corporate sponsors have reserved tables ($500 for 16 tickets) or entire tents ($1,000 for 30 tickets), as a treat for employees and or clients, she said.
Individuals are also welcome ($25 in advance, $30 at the gate), although ticket sales will likely be cut off to make sure everyone gets enough food.
“We’ll probably allow for about 50 at the gate. We’re planning on about 900 people.”
Once you enter the gate, and put on an age-appropriate wristband, you get all the food and beverages you want.