Like many Americans who are returning to their ancestral roots, Forest Park is attempting to recapture some of its German heritage by resurrecting Oktoberfest.
The Oktoberfest celebration will take place on Saturday, September 24 between noon and 10 p.m. and will be held in the Ferrara Pan Candy Company, parking lot at Harrison and Elgin. It will be co-hosted by the Harlem German Chor and St. Bernardine Church, and will be sponsored, in part, by Ferrara Pan Candy Company.
Some Forest Park old timers will recall that Oktoberfest was held in the same parking lot back in the early 1970s after leaving Madison Street but before moving to the Naval Reserve Center on Roosevelt Road.
The Harlem German Chor was formerly known as the Harlem Mannerchor and Harlem Dammenchor, but the men and ladies have now merged into the German Chor. In addition to providing good German music, the German Chor will be selling German food and beer and other German specialties.
American food and beer will be sold by volunteers from St. Bernardine Church and they will also have games, children’s activities, and a raffle with assistance from the Forest Park Youth Commission.
An exciting new specialty item from the Ferrara Pan Candy Company will be Lemonhead martinis.
Admission to the event will be $3 for those 12 and over, and $2 for seniors. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Pete Herdeg, President of the German Chor, said he is excited about the return of Oktoberfest to Forest Park. He hopes that the German bands, German Chor sing along and performances by the German Kinder Chor (children’s chorus) will rekindle some of the past good times.
Caroline Keeley, co-chair of the event, said that St. Bernadine Church is happy to be hosting the event and is hoping to raise about $30,000 to cover this year’s budget shortfall. She also mentioned that additional corporate sponsors are very welcome.