Three members of the Seymour High School Class of 2003 spent a lot of time together growing up.
They remained friends beyond high school despite one moving to another town and all of them starting families.
Six years ago, Morgan Kurtz set up a booth, Me & Mo, in the craft section of her hometown’s largest event, the Seymour Oktoberfest.
The next year, Kristina Charlton and Sasha Norman joined her with their Sugar Coated Candy booth.
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They have continued to join forces ever since.
This year, for the first time, the work they put in on the products they sell and the decorations for their booths resulted in an award — best decorated craft booth.
During Thursday night’s opening ceremonies, they were presented a plaque and a $100 gift certificate. Those same prizes were awarded to Enter His Courts for best decorated food booth and Funtyme Designs and Legacy Builders for best decorated new booth.
“It’s just really exciting. We’ve worked hard on it every year. … We still come and try to make it look cute,” Charlton said.
“I’m pumped about the award,” Norman said. “We always said, ‘Well, maybe next year,’ but we never won.”
Kurtz’s parents and sister operated her booth Thursday because she’s a teacher and couldn’t be at opening day. She lives in Battle Ground near Lafayette.
Charlton shared the news about the award via text message.
“Oh goodness! So thankful,” Kurtz said. “We love the Oktoberfest. We grew up looking forward to this event every year. We work so hard to bring our best products for this crowd of people in our hometown. After six years of being a part of the Oktoberfest, we are just excited and grateful for this award. We hand make all of our products, and this year, it was truly a family event getting over 600 scarves made for our fall inventory.”
Over the years, Me & Mo has sold scarves, repurposed furniture, wooden picture frames and boutique clothing. In recent years, it has solely been scarves.
Sugar Coated Candy offers jewelry, keychains, hairbows and bracelets.
With a combined eight children, Kurtz, Charlton and Norman use proceeds from their Oktoberfest booths to buy Christmas presents.
“Morgan has half of those. She has four children, and then (Norman) and I each have two, so that’s a lot of Christmas presents,” Charlton said, smiling.
Their pink tent is easy to find among the craft booths, and they have a good location near Third and Chestnut streets.
They all said they like spending time together during the three-day festival.
“We’ve just all been together always, and we still are,” Charlton said.
“It’s fun that we get to hang out for 12 hours a day in here and talk and just hang out,” Norman said.
This is the third year for Enter His Courts, a local youth basketball league, to operate the pommes frites booth at the Oktoberfest.
Tim and Sally Goodpaster have used the same decorations each year for the booth. The couple enlist the help of their daughter, Maggie Fox, who paints pumpkins to look like basketballs.
“I was shocked because we’ve not really done anything different,” Sally said of winning the award. “It’s cool. (Tim) has already got the award out on the front.”
Considering it takes several days of preparation and then about eight people in the booth at a time for 12 hours a day, the award means a lot to the Goodpasters.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work, a lot of behind the scenes,” Sally said.
They like being involved in the festival and seeing the thousands of people who attend.
“We see so many friends and family,” Sally said. “We see kids that come through that have played in the league. A lot of people stop because they see the Enter His Courts sign, and that means a lot to them, so they come to support us.”
It doesn’t hurt that the fries with choice of dip are tasty.
“Everybody seems to love them,” Sally said. “We just feel like it’s probably one of the best deals down here because you get the fries and drink for one price. They are popular.”
Funtyme Designs and Legacy Builders is a father-daughter effort.
Jon Douglas is a residential builder who lives in Franklin and makes pallet design wooden items, while Kelsey Jines is a teaching assistant who lives in Elizabethtown and makes crocheted products.
Jines has set up at small local festivals but none as large as the Oktoberfest, and the Seymour festival is her father’s first time with a booth.
“It was an incentive just to see if we could set up and make a nice booth,” Douglas said. “If you put a nice booth out there, people are going to stop in, and hopefully, that transfers into sales.”
Their booth contains items Douglas made, including wooden painted pallets and pictures, wine racks, chalkboards, picture frames and cooler stands, and Jines’ crocheted items, including hats, hoods, scarves, blankets, pillows, baby booties, dish cloths and face scrubs.
Jines said she has been crocheting for five years.
“I bought my house, and the people that owned it had left behind everything that they had,” she said. “There was a set of crochet hooks, and so I learned how to do it that way.”
She also watched some videos to help her pick up the necessary skills. She started with hats and added other items as her skills progressed.
Her father, on the other hand, just started his craft this summer.
“It’s a niche market,” Douglas said. “What you see down in the south and southwest starts kind of growing this way, and the rustic look really is hitting up here now fairly large. You don’t see a lot of the pallet stuff going on. Sometimes, you’ll see the wine racks and things being made, and you don’t see a lot of these cooler stands out there, but they are going pretty well.”
Douglas said his daughter asked him about setting up at a festival with her, and they chose the Oktoberfest.
Douglas is a Seymour native and graduated from Seymour High School, and Jines was born in Seymour and attended school in Jennings County.
“We’ve been coming back the last couple of years,” Douglas said. “It’s fun to come back because we run into so many people. You run into a lot of people that in 30 years you haven’t seen. The festival is still big.”
They already are considering setting up at next year’s Oktoberfest.
“It looks like the rest of the weekend is going to be fantastic weather-wise, so it should go well for us,” Douglas said. “We’re going to have fun with it no matter what.”
Also during the opening ceremonies, Beautiful Chaos received $75 for winning the window decorating contest, and the Oktoberfest princess was crowned.
Of the four princess contestants, Grace Mullins, 8, a student at Seymour-Redding Elementary School, raised the most money. Along with a crown, she received a bicycle and other gifts.
“I really wanted to see what it was like because I’ve only been onstage for dancing,” said Grace, the daughter of Alicia Mullins and Dustin and Kayla Mullins. “I’ve never been onstage for anything else, and I thought it would be fun.”
She said she raised nearly $3,000 by going door-to-door, asking family members for donations and conducting a motorcycle ride and a couple of raffles.
“I just want to help the people that need it,” Grace said. “I want to help everyone that needs help and needs a home.”
Beta Kappa Chapter 697 of Epsilon Sigma Alpha sponsors the contest, and the nearly $3,800 raised by the contestants will go toward the local, state and national organizations the sorority supports.
For 43 of the 45 years of the festival, there has been a prince and princess contest. This year, though, no boys signed up for the prince contest.
“The participation in the contest has kind of fizzled a little bit in the last few years,” sorority member Beth White said. “We’re going to work really hard next year to reenergize it and get some more contestants in.”
Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman also presented a certificate of appreciation to Alan Killey on behalf of the Seymour Oktoberfest committee.
Killey and his wife, Dana, lost their home and downtown businesses, Hair Force Beauty Academy and Second Street Styles, to a fire Jan. 4. Instead of relocating, the Killeys reopened Hair Force Beauty Academy in the downtown five months later.
45th annual Seymour Oktoberfest opening ceremonies awards and contest winners
Best decorated food booth: Enter His Courts, first place; Zion Lutheran Church, second place
Best decorated craft booth: Me & Mo and Sugar Coated Candy, first place; Crafty Creations, second place
Best decorated new booth: Funtyme Designs and Legacy Builders, first place
Window decorating contest: Beautiful Chaos, first place; Artistic Impressions, second place; Picket Fence, third place
Oktoberfest princess contest: Grace Mullins
Cake contest: Jayne Clark, first place; Donna Fitzgerald, second place; Dale Hickman, third place
Pie contest: Michelle Nichter, first place; Gloria Fisher, second place; Lavena Hauer, third place
Children’s cake and pie contest: Riley Kinney, first place; Andrew Roberts, second place; Rozellyn Abell, third place
Certificate of appreciation: Alan and Dana Killey with Hair Force Beauty Academy
45th annual Seymour Oktoberfest
7 to 8 a.m.: Registration for the 5K walk/run, Seymour High School commons area
8 a.m.: 5K walk/run
9 a.m.: Cornhole tournament registration, grass lot at Fifth and Walnut streets
10 a.m.: Cornhole tournament sponsored by Seymour Wrestling Club
10:30 a.m. to noon: Horseshoe tournament registration, Gaiser Park
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Food, activity, arts and crafts booths open
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Biergarten open
Noon: Horseshoe tournament sponsored by Seymour Parks and Recreation Department
Throughout the day: Roving musicians, including Larry VonEssen (accordionist), Lost Mill String Band, The Spoon Man and Cincy Circus
1 p.m. to 11 p.m.: Carnival open
1:30 p.m.: Parade
4 p.m.: Game of S.K.A.T.E., Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skate Park
4 p.m.: Stein hoist, Biergarten
4 p.m.: Hot air balloons arrive, grass lot on the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets
5:15 p.m.: Hot air balloon race sponsored by RE/MAX Professionals
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
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
7 p.m.: Polka/chicken dance contest sponsored by German American Bank