The largest event in Seymour each year begins its three-day run at 11 a.m. Thursday.
That’s when thousands of people will fill downtown streets to be tempted by good food and plenty of great music and maybe even to buy something from a local craftsman.
The event is the 45th annual Oktoberfest, and festival President Ben Stahl said festivalgoers shouldn’t expect any big changes this year.
“You don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” he said.
The board, however, has put a plan in place to ease congestion during peak hours, Stahl said.
That plan involves removing some of the picnic tables lined up and down the middle of each street and placing them together at One Chamber Square, he said.
The idea for came from an online survey implemented three years ago, Stahl said. The ideal goal of the survey is to gather input from festivalgoers during the event.
“It’s a great way for our visitors to say what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.
That survey will go live Thursday and can be found by searching for Seymour Oktoberfest Inc. on Facebook.
In the future, the 14-member board may look at additional changes to improve the flow of those attending the festival.
“We just want less congestion,” Stahl said.
The board also is considering the idea of providing more covered seating by setting up tents, Stahl said.
“That’s something we will try to work on in the years to come,” he said.
Stahl said the board also hopes to take advantage of the three-acre downtown park, which will soon be constructed in the 100 block of East Tipton Street.
There are going to be four new food booths, Oui Crepes operated by Gary and Sheila McDonough of Seymour, The Pretzel Wagon, Bob and Kev’s BBQ and Cornography, which features Mexican-style corn on the cob, and seven new arts and crafts booths, Funtyme Designs and Legacy Builders, Reggie’s Crafts, Cole’s Crafts, Sand Creek Woodshop, Sacha’s Creations, Little Shop Outback and Infinite Possibilities by Heather LeeAnn.
The 45th annual festival begins its three-day run at 11 a.m. Thursday with the opening of booths, although the carnival will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. today and the Biergarten also will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. today. Bracelets for the carnival are available for $20.
The opening ceremony, featuring music provided by the Seymour High School Marching Owls, will begin at 4:45 p.m. Thursday on the North Stage at Third and Chestnut streets. That will be followed by the presentation of awards for booths, window decorating and the baking contest and the crowning of the princess at 6 p.m.
The RE/MAX balloon glow and balloon race have been moved from Seymour High School to the grassy lots of the former Shields High School at the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets. The balloon race lifts off at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
Other highlights of the festival include free musical performances, a polka and chicken dance contest, a 5K walk/run, a parade, a stein hoist, a baby contest, a brat eating contest, a talent show and a flea market.