LOWELL-Folks around these parts have been celebrating the Lowell Octoberfest since America honored its own bicentennial in 1976, and this year's 37th annual event promises to feature plenty of what festival goers have come to look forward to.
A parade, flea market, scrumptious food, craft booths, live entertainment, German food, horseshoe pitching, sweet foodstuffs and more are on this year's menu-err, schedule of events.
"Food, that's our main draw. It always has been," said Terry Schwendeman, who has served as Lowell Octoberfest festival chairman since 1994.
Speaking of eating, food chairwoman Mildred Schwendeman and her helpers have already started preparing items for their famous hot German potato salad.
"We fried bacon on Monday," Mildred Schwendeman said. "We made 80 gallons of sauce on Tuesday."
Corned beef Reubens-rye bread slices around a pile of corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing-are another top selling Octoberfest food item.
If you go
What: 37th annual Lowell Octoberfest.
When: Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Buell Island, Lowell, seven miles north of Marietta on Ohio 60.
Admission: Free, along with parking.
10 a.m.: Parade.
11 a.m. to noon: Music by Joey and Tyson Huck (main stage).
Noon to 2:30 p.m.: Music by Space Chickens (main stage).
1 p.m.: Horseshoe pitching.
2:30 to 5 p.m.: Music by Behaven Country (main stage).
7:30 p.m.: Catholic Mass (Shelter A).
10:30 a.m.: Combined church service (Shelter C).
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Music by Jim Smith (main stage).
1 to 3 p.m.: Music by Steve and Bev Pottmeyer (main stage).
1 p.m.: Horseshoe pitching.
3 to 5 p.m.: Music by Except For That (main stage).
5 p.m.: Raffle drawing (tickets are $1 apiece or six for $5).
"They are good," said Mildred Schwendeman. "There's no question about it."
Those with a sweet tooth will swoon for the return of the jumbo cream puffs that debuted three years ago. Terry Schwendeman will travel to Schmidt's Restaurant in Columbus late Friday afternoon to pick up 500 cream puff shells and buckets of filling.
"We assemble them when we sell them," said Terry Schwendeman. He admitted he "tries to just have maybe one" of the tempting cream puffs during the Lowell Octoberfest weekend.
Mildred Schwendeman said she has little chance to sample all the tempting food on hand.
"I'm pretty busy and I'm not hungry," she said. "If I get started, I may not quit."
The Lowell Octoberfest's parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday by Dino's Restaurant on Ohio 60 at the north end of Lowell.
The parade will feature the Fort Frye High School band, vintage autos, floats from the high school and area businesses and organizations and more.
"Whoever shows up can come," said parade chairman Jim Lenhart. "We used to keep track but it was such a hard job."
The parade usually lasts about an hour.
"We're gonna have a lot of politicians in there this year. It might even take a little longer," said Lenhart.
Parade marshal Alan Stacy said he is proud to be part of this year's Lowell Octoberfest.
"I'm quite honored," Stacy said. "It's a wonderful organization of people who volunteer lots and lots of hours year round."
Stacy is "well known in town here," Lenhart said. "The kids all know him from his teaching."
Raised on a farm outside Lowell, Stacy taught English at Fort Frye High School for 10 years and was the principal at Lowell and Salem-Liberty elementary schools from 1985 to 1987. He then spent nine years as county supervisor for Tuscarawas County Schools. Stacy also sells raffle tickets at the Lowell Octoberfest.
Forecasts for this weekend's weather are mixed. Terry Schwendeman said he has heard temperatures will be cooler with the high only in the low 50s and a chance of rain.
"For years I paid attention to the weather," said Terry Schwendeman. "Now I wait until Friday because it just changes."
The Lowell Octoberfest will be held on Buell Island in Lowell just off Ohio 60. Parking and admission are free.