By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
The leaves are changing, and it’s getting dark earlier.
That can mean only one thing: It’s time for Mannington’s annual Octoberfest celebration.
The 28th annual Mannington Octoberfest will be held on Market Street in downtown Mannington from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. There is no entry fee to the event, which will include more than 40 vendors, a car show, a talent contest, and games and face painting for the kids.
The event was started by the group Business for Progress. Today, remaining members of the group help to organize Octoberfest as a committee for Mannington Main Street, Janet Garner, one of the organizers, said.
“It was designed originally, and still is, an effort to bring people into Mannington,” Garner said.
Janet Garner, her husband Eric Garner, and Karen Morris were the main organizers, and are all old members of the Business for Progress group.
The event will kick off with an invocation, flag-raising ceremony, the national anthem and a welcome speech by Mannington Mayor Jim Taylor.
The Car Crafters will be hosting a car show in the Rite Aid parking lot from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. All participants who bring their car to the show will receive a commemorative dash plaque.
“The car show is usually very well attended,” Garner said. “It’s one thing my husband and I always walk through.”
At 11 a.m., the talent show will get started. Contestants compete in two categories: ages 5 to 15, and ages 16 and over. There are cash prizes for first, second and third place in each category of $75, $50 and $25.
Misty Anderson is the talent show director, and her husband Bill Anderson will be acting as MC.
“I’ve never MCed this one,” Bill Anderson said. “They may be in for a treat.”
The Andersons have been helping out with the event for 10 years.
“We scratch our heads, and we try to find something different to do every year,” Bill Anderson said. “There are always little changes.”
Bill Anderson recommends that if anyone has any suggestions for what they would like to see next Octoberfest, they should contact one of the main organizers, such as Janet Garner.
“We’re always up for new ideas,” Bill Anderson said.
Local musicians will perform starting at noon, with the Crossroads Quartet, a gospel group; Country Sounds, which does country music; and Last Year’s Model, which plays alternative rock.
Entertainment for the kids will include face painting, a dime pitch game, and, of course, watching their friends perform at the talent show.
Vendors at the event wil include area craft vendors and plenty of food.
“We have so many good vendors,” Janet Garner said. “We have great variety. There are always great gifts and decorative items.”
One of Mannington’s Octoberfest big traditions is the bratwurst. This year, the First Exchange Bank Relay for Life team will be preparing the bratwurst. Other Relay for Life teams will also be at the event, Garner said.
Zion Assembly will be selling hot dogs, and the Mannington Volunteer Fire Department will have rib sandwiches.
The weather is predicted to be in the 80s and sunny for the event.
“We’re very excited about that because we’ve had some bad weather before,” Garner said. “We always have it outside, regardless of the weather, so we’re exited for this year.”
Garner said that they expect around 1,000 visitors to stop by throughout the day.
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.