By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Rotary Club of Quincy is getting ready to unveil its second Oktoberfest next Saturday.
Last year's inaugural event turned out to be a big hit, with massive crowds filling the Calftown neighborhood surrounding the old Dick Brothers Brewery on York Street between Ninth and 10th.
"I don't think we could have ever expected the turnout and the support that we got in year one," Tom Van Ness, president of the Rotary Club of Quincy, said. "Thousands of people poured into that one-block area. It was such a cool event to see and be a part of, and it just really solidified the fact that we have a great opportunity to have a wonderful event that will ultimately put money back into the community."
This year's Oktoberfest will be different in several ways from last year's celebration of Quincy's German heritage.
First, the event will last longer. It's scheduled to go from noon to 10 p.m. The starting time is four hours earlier than last year. Van Ness said organizers wanted to provide more opportunities for visitors to participate in tours and other attractions.
Organizers this year will offer "Beer in the Sky" tours of the five-story brewhouse on the north side of York. Tours costing $5 per person will be available at the top of every hour from 1 to 8 p.m. for up to 100 people at a time.
"They'll be able to hear from historians about what happened in this building, learn how they brewed beer in this building, and will be able to see the architecture within this building," Van Ness.
About seven home brewers will hand out samples of their beers at selected points along of tour.
Also new this year will be Belgian horse carriage rides from noon to 5 p.m. starting at the northeast corner of 10th and York. The carriage rides will traverse the historic Park Place neighborhood between 12th and 14th streets.
The cost for the rides is $5 for adults, $3 for children.
The festival will feature an expanded food service area just east side of the brewery. More seating will be available than last year, and new German food items have been added, including Bavarian nuts and gingerbread cookies. The festival also will feature the usual array of bratwurst sandwiches, sauerkraut and German potato salad -- along with an assortment of imported beers and non-alcoholic drinks.
A bratwurst-eating contest will begin at 5:30 p.m. for up to 10 contestants, and music will be provided throughout the day. The Heidelberg German Band is slated to play from 1 to 5 p.m., and the Cheeseburgers will perform from 6 to 10 p.m.
Shuttle buses will operate from 1 to 6 p.m. between the Oktoberfest site and the Quincy Senior and Family Center's parking lot at Sixth and York.
All proceeds from Oktoberfest will be used to benefit the Rotary Club's local community service projects.
"The more you can come out and support Oktoberfest, the more Rotary will be able to do for the community," Van Ness said.
The event is sponsored by Mississippi Belle Distributing Co., Rinella Company, Haubrich Enterprises, WGEM, The Quincy Herald-Whig, Refreshment Services Pepsi, County Market, Y101, Kohl Wholesale and Gallery Solaro.