Reminiscing on the history of Seymour Oktoberfest

The first Seymour Oktoberfest in 1973 almost ended before it even began.

A thunderstorm with gusty winds ripped through the downtown on the afternoon the festival was set to begin, tearing apart many of the booths that had been set up earlier in the day on West Second and Chestnut streets.

But once the storm had passed, people regrouped to fix the damage, and the Oktoberfest officially got underway, just a little later than scheduled.

Tom Fettig and Opal Fosbrink were the first chairs of the Oktoberfest.

The mayor of Seymour at the time was Chris Moritz, and the festival attracted many local, state and even national dignitaries who attended a mayor’s gathering that first year.

Linda McIntire, 10, daughter of Martha McIntire and the late William McIntire, and Keith Bowman, 10, were crowned the first festival princess and prince.

Crowds upward of 10,000 people filled the downtown streets over three days to celebrate the community’s German heritage with food, activities and crafts.

There were around 75 different booths, a carnival with rides that operated on Chestnut Street, an antique show, a teen dance and a biergarten.

Although it has moved locations, the biergarten continues to be a popular attraction 44 years later. Last year, a stein hoist was added where men and women compete to see who can hold a stein, filled with brew, the longest.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.