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This weekend’s festivities may have a new name, but organizers say the 2008 Octoberfest will feature all the same family fun residents have come to expect after four decades as the Spencer County Homecoming.
In fact, there may even be more adventures packed into the two-day event than folks might be accustomed.
Through out Saturday’s celebration, festival goers will begin to notice the infiltration of nearly 80 Civil War re-enactors. Some dressed in blue. Others in gray. At first they seem to peacefully coexist, but as the day wears on, skirmishes will erupt among the crowd. Occasionally, the sound of muzzleloaders ring out with warnings of what is to come.
Octoberfest President Karen Spencer said that those attending Saturday should prepare their families for the firecracker pop of rifles or the resonating boom of a cannon.
“I will be the one hitting the ground,” laughed Patsy Lewis, Octoberfest vice president.
By late afternoon, street skirmishes will evolve into a full scale war as Union and Confederate forces effectively decide the fate of this year’s Octoberfest theme “North or South.”
Regardless of the outcome, peace will once again be restored as re-enactors from the Bardstown Home Guard and other organizations join with festival goers for a Civil War Ball right in the middle of Main Street.
What did you say? Ballroom dancing not your scene? Well then, stick around for a rocking good time with headliner and native son Shannon Lawson. The MuzikMafia singer/songwriter takes the stage with his blend of country, bluegrass and some wicked guitar licks around 9 p.m.
Lawson claims on his website to have his own connection to the festival’s motif.
“During the Civil War, one of our ancestors was a prisoner of war in Andersonville Confederate Prison,” states Lawson. “He played the fiddle and as the story goes, he played for the soldiers which allowed him to get enough food to stay alive.”
Octoberfest Vice President Patsy Lewis said the theme was intended to tie in the re-enactors without limiting the creativity of float designers. She anticipates seeing a variety of interpretations among the 17 floats in this year’s parade, scheduled to begin around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
In addition to the parade, other Octoberfest events that have traditionally been a part of past Spencer County Homecomings include games, pageants and plenty of opportunities to shop or grab a bite to eat.
“The number of vendors have actually doubled this year,” said Lewis.
With 90 scheduled booths highlighting regional artisans, crafters and businesses, Lewis said it has been a challenge figuring out where to put everyone.
For the hundreds expected to attend this weekend’s events, traffic headaches can be avoided by making plans to arrive early.
Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis said that motorists should be prepared for road closings along Main Street Friday night from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. and again Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 1 a.m.
In addition to Main Street closures, KY 55 from KY 44 East to Main Street will be closed several hours for the parade. Motorists can use a detour through Taylorsville along Townhill Road (KY 3200), Railroad and Garrard streets. Flashing message boards and police officers will direct motorists through detours. Only residents living in the area will be allowed access during the parade.
And just what prompted the festival name change?
Lewis said that as football became increasingly popular and successful in Spencer County, organizers were having a more difficult time raising funds because of the confusion with the high school’s homecoming events.
“That’s what you think of when you hear the word homecoming, you think of football,” said Lewis, adding that the free community event costs over $5,000 annually.
2008 Octoberfest schedule of events
Friday, October 3
5 p.m. Main Street closes for vendor set up. Some vendors may be open for business.
6 p.m. Little Mister and Miss, Pre-Teen, Jr. Miss, and Miss Octoberfest pageants begin.
8 p.m. Live music by 155.
Saturday, October 4
9 a.m. Opening prayer by Chad Goodlett followed by live music performed by Kyle Bennett.
9:30 a.m. Scooter race in front of The Red Scooter.
10 a.m. SCMS dance team and SCES dance team performs.
10:30 a.m. Parade begins.
12 p.m. Live music by Beth Tingle
1 p.m. Live music by The Lawsons
2 p.m. Corn hole tournament begins. Baby and Tiny Tots pageants begin.
3 p.m. Drawing for prizes.
3:30 p.m. Live music by Beth Tingle
4 p.m. Live music by Allen Price
4:30 p.m. Civil War re-enactment begins next to T&R Antiques.
5:30 p.m. Live music by Allen Price
6:30 p.m. Civil War Ball and live music by Danny Norton and Friends.
8 p.m. Live music by 155 and Beth Tingle.
9 p.m. Live music by Shannon Lawson.
Taylorsville Police will be closing Main Street from Jefferson to Washington Street beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and will reopen by 1 a.m.
The by-pass route through Taylorsville during the parade will begin at the intersection of KY 55 and KY 44 East. Motorists should take KY 44 East to Townhill Road/KY 3200, then follow detour to Railroad Street and then to Garrard Street for access to KY 55 South/Bloomfield Road and KY 44 West/Mt. Washington Road.
State message boards and officers will direct detours.
Access to areas around parade route will be limited to residents who live in area.
After the parade, Main Street will be blocked from Jefferson Street to Point Street until 1 a.m.