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.

Festival parking

General parking: Seymour High School parking lot at no charge with shuttle service to the festival.

Handicap parking: Available at the Total Tan lot at the corner of Indianapolis Avenue and Third Street or in the parking lots at the Jackson County Public Library, Presbyterian church or the Apostolic church, all on Third Street.

Bicycle parking: Available at Seymour High School (ride the shuttle), in front of Larrison’s Diner, Seymour Police Department and B2 Bikes & Boards.

Schedule of events

Today

5 to 11 p.m.: Carnival (ride bracelets $20), Second Street and Indianapolis Avenue

5 to 10 p.m: Biergarten, West Second Street

Thursday

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Food, activity and arts and crafts booths open

10 a.m. to noon: Baking contest sponsored by Aldi at the Community Foundation Building, 107 Community Drive

4:45 to 5:30 p.m: Opening ceremonies featuring the Seymour High School band

5 to 11 p.m.: Carnival (ride bracelets $20), Second Street and Indianapolis Avenue

5:30 to 6 p.m.: Booth awards, window decorating awards and baking contest awards

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Princess contest sponsored by Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority

6 to 8 p.m.: Registration for the baby contest sponsored by Schneck Medical Center (near the information booth)

Throughout the day: Roving musicians including Larry VonEssen (accordionist), Lost Mill String Band and The Spoon Man

South Stage on South Chestnut Street

5 to 6 p.m.: Cottonpatch (bluegrass)

6 to 7 p.m: Stars & Stripes Cloggers

7 to 11 p.m. Monday Night Special and Deer Creek (bluegrass)

German American Bank Stage on West Second Street

6:30 to 10:30 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 (German band sponsored by German American Bank)

North Stage (Third and Chestnut streets)

8 p.m.: Rusty Bladen & The Unstoppables concert

Friday

11 a.m. to 11 p.m: Food, activity, arts and crafts booths open

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Biergarten open

1 to 11 p.m.: Carnival (ride bracelets honored from 1 to 5 p.m. and are available at for $20 at ticket booth)

6 to 8 p.m. Registration for the baby contest (near the information booth)

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Hot air balloon glow sponsored by RE/MAX Professionals (grass lot on the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets)

Throughout the day

Roving musicians: Larry VonEssen (accordionist), Lost Mill String Band and The Spoon Man

North Stage

6 to 7:30 p.m.: These Fine Gentlemen concert

8 p.m.: The Lasting Hope concert

South Stage

5 to 5:30 p.m.: Brown Bouncing Bears

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Anchor House presents Hairless for the Homeless

7 to 11 p.m.: Bluegrass music featuring Liberty Hill, Hallelujah Hillbillies, Hoosier Hills

German American Bank Stage

6:30 to 10:30 p.m.: Schulhaus 4 +3

Saturday

11 a.m. to 11 p.m: Food, activity, arts and crafts booths open

11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Biergarten open

1 p.m. to 11 p.m.: Carnival

Roving musicians: Larry VonEssen (accordionist), Lost Mill String Band, The Spoon Man and Cincy Circus

7 to 8 a.m.: Registration for the 5K walk/run in the Seymour High School commons area

8 a.m.: 5K walk/run

9 a.m.: Cornhole tournament registration sponsored by Seymour Wrestling Club at the grass lot at Fifth and Walnut streets

10 a.m.: Cornhole tournament

10:30 a.m. to noon: Registration for the horseshoe tournament sponsored by Seymour Parks & Recreation Department at Gaiser Park

Noon: Horseshoe tournament

1:30 p.m: Parade

4 p.m.: Game of S.K.A.T.E. at Schurmann-Grubb Memorial Skate Park

4 p.m.: Stein hoist in the Biergarten

4 p.m.: Hot air balloons arrive at the grass lot on the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets

5:15 p.m.: Hot air balloon race sponsored by RE/MAX Professionals

North Stage

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Baby contest sponsored by Schneck Medical Center

3 to 5 p.m.: Southern Indiana Taiko Japanese Drums

5 p.m.: Presentation of parade trophies

6:30 p.m: Brat eating contest sponsored by 96.3 WJAA, Circle K and Pepsi

7:30 to 9 p.m.: Talent show sponsored by Staff Management SMX

South stage

2 to 3 p.m.: Country Kickers

3 to 4:45 p.m: Cornerstone Praise Team

5 to 6:45 p.m: Seymour Harvest Praise Team

7 to 11 p.m.: Bluegrass music featuring Infinity, Midwest Station and Alley Katz-N-Jammers

German American Bank Stage

2:30 to 4 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 (German band)

6:30 to 10:30 p.m.: Schulhaus 4+3 (German band)

7 p.m.: Polka/chicken dance contest sponsored by German American Bank