Kick off October at Bloktoberfest

Written by Julie Hying

Autumn revels in seasonal celebrations and traditions. For over 200 years Oktoberfest gatherings have ushered in fall festivities in cities all over the world. Crisper air and falling leaves invite outdoor activities and fun. Here in Wichita, our third annual Bloktoberfest will be held on Oct. 5 and 6 at WaterWalk Plaza. (Free admission, Friday 4–10 p.m. and Saturday 12–10 p.m.) This amazing event will include family-friendly games and activities, traditional German fare along with other options provided by eight local food trucks and three dessert trucks, and five biergartens (beer gardens) for beer tasters and lovers to enjoy.

The inspiration for Bloktoberfest began when siblings and co-owners of Xclusive Events (a company specializing in mobile bartending, event planning and event staffing) were just young kids experiencing the city’s Oktoberfest celebration from their parents’ food truck. Now Crystal McDonald and Cody Lathrop help others celebrate large events with their own adult beverage trucks: Xclusive Booze, Tin Shaker and Drink Local Truck.

Friday afternoon and evening’s musical selections will include a polka band and an outstanding country music group, Jason Callahan Band. While the tunes loosen the mood, a beer tasting to determine the “King of Bloktoberfest” will be a nighttime highlight from 6 to 9 p.m.

This competition will feature over 100 different beers, provided by area breweries that can be enjoyed. Local craft beers, German beer choices and many other nation’s beers will provide an array of flavors and tastes. The ticket price for this portion of the evening is $40 and includes a tasting mug for sampling. Last year’s winners, Central Standard Brewing (CBS) and Hopping Gnome, will be there to defend their titles as 2018 King of Bloktoberfest winners are chosen.

Saturday’s jams will be provided by the School of Rock and the rock band, Groove 42. With the cooler air and this lyrical backdrop, many other fun games and activities can be enjoyed. There will be a keg rolling competition, a cornhole competition, a hotdog eating contest, a traditional stein hoist and a SIM Club challenge in their flight simulator.

At 4 p.m., the Weiner Dog Olympics will begin. Dachshunds can compete in these events. Prizes will be awarded for the dog with the best tricks, the most creative costume, and the pooch who can outrun all the other contestants of this wiener dog race. Dogs may be pre-registered on the event website or may just show up and compete.

Local groups, including KETCH (Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped), will sponsor events to raise money for members of our community. KETCH’s mission is to help individuals with disabilities work and live successfully in our community. Again this year they are sponsoring The Battle of the Burger. Local restaurants will demonstrate their culinary chops as they battle to prepare the city’s best burger. This event costs $30 or $50 for a VIP ticket. All proceeds will support their efforts to assist others.

Along with many delectable edible options and fun fall activities, The Wichita Boathouse will host the day’s local shopping event. Fabulous selections and opportunities featuring local vendors and small businesses in our area will abound as they display their jewelry, clothing, local art and artistic creations.

More information, along with a map of the area, can be found at

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