One need not be of German decent to enjoy Octoberfest in Lowell, but it helps to have a big appetite.
“I haven’t been in about 10 years but I plan to go this year,” said Jeff Steinel, 54, who is originally from Williamstown and relocated to Lowell after moving out of the area for some time. “I remember all the craft dealers and all the good food … really the food.”
The 38th Lowell Octoberfest will be held Saturday and Sunday on Buell Island, seven miles north of Marietta on Ohio 60.
From German potato salad, reubens and kielbasa to funnel cakes and cream puffs, the options are many … just make sure to get there in time.
“Food is our biggest draw,” said chairperson Terry Schwendeman. “Some years we run out … it just depends on the crowd.”
For a few years now, Schwendeman has driven to Columbus to pick up the ingredients for the world-famous jumbo cream puffs from Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, based in German Village.
“Last year we got enough to make 500 and we sold out of those,” Schwendeman said.
Money raised from the sale of food and raffle tickets will go back into the fund for upkeep of the pool and park on Buell Island. Parking and admittance is free.
Another draw for the third year in a row is the quilt auction to benefit the Lowell-Adams (L-A) volunteer fire and rescue department.
“This was planned for our social in July but we kind of got rained out,” said chief Josh Harris. “The money raised from the quilt auction and country store will help us to buy additional equipment.”
Lowell native and breast cancer survivor Loretta Miller has donated several quilts for the past two years that have helped to raise thousands for the department. This year she will have three Christmas-themed quilts and other items to auction on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
“These guys have come out to help my family many times,” said Miller, a current Washington state resident, who is in the area to support her ailing twin sister Joretta and will return west next week. “I knew I had this gift and I want to use it for good.”
Miller said she took up quilting after moving to Washington and taking quilting classes. Sewing, she said, helped to keep her busy while undergoing radiation.
“I didn’t know that I was actually keeping a family tradition by taking up quilting, but my grandmother quilted,” she said.
A quilt of Miller’s featuring photos of Lowell through the years brought $4,200 for the fire department at their social in 2011.
According to Schwendeman, there will be around 75 flea market, craft and antique vendors set up all around the island.
The event will officially kick off with a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Participants will line up at the junction of Ohio 60 and Cat’s Creek Road. This year’s parade marshal is Fred Heldman, a longtime Lowell resident, Octoberfest volunteer and softball coach.
“I’ve been coaching since 1986 and I’ve coached everything but I mostly now coach older girls’ fastpitch,” Heldman said. “I do it for the kids because you have to keep them busy.”
Heldman, a retired rural mail carrier, lives on the farm he grew up on and is happy to give back to his community.
“I think it is a great honor (to be parade marshal) and I am in good company,” he said.