Traditional German baked goods are to be featured at the eighth annual Oktober Fest noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
The Miller Log Cabin at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve is to be transformed into a "baeckerei," German for "bake shop," during the annual county parks fundraiser. Among the authentic German baked goods to be for sale will be red wine cake, linzer torte, nut cake, gingerbread, black forest cookies and home-baked breads.
"Seneca County's history is tightly interwoven with German immigrants who knew how to have a good time and enjoy fall at nature's best," said Karin Brown, a native of Germany and this year's event chairman.
Included among the offerings are German pretzels, fresh from ovens in Munich, Germany, and delivered by Brown after a recent trip to her native country.
"You can sit in our coffee house and enjoy some goodies right on the premises," Brown said. "The famous Schwarzaelder Kirsch torte with a cup of coffee will be delight."
In addition to bake shop goodies, hosts Friends of the Seneca County Park District invite everyone to enjoy a 25-piece German band, the Duetschmeisters, while they eat an authentic German lunch.
"Bratwurst and sauerkraut made the German way will be abundant," Brown said. Leberkase, or German bologna, sandwiches also are featured.
"By popular demand, the famous hot German potato salad has been brought back," she said. Both hot and cold version of potato salad are to be available, as well as potato soup, red cabbage, cucumber salad, German pretzels, desserts and hot and cold drinks.
Food is available individually or as specially-priced meals.
After - or before - lunch, visitors may watch a blacksmith in action in his shop, see a rock-cutting demonstration, learn from a wood carver demonstrating the art of whittling, and buy fresh produce at a farm market.
They can take part in "hayrides with more wagons and shorter lines," Brown said. The rides feature narrated tours of the preserve.
Black Swamp Raptor Rehab is to have several birds of prey on hand for viewing. Among other activities planned are professional face painting, a caricaturist and portrait painter, a petting zoo and several more children's activities,
Anyone who wishes to try their luck at catch-and-release fishing is welcome to do so, but must provide their own poles and bait.
Garlo preserve's first 256 acres was donated to the Seneca County Park District in 1997 by the Garlo family in memory of physicians Olgierd and Maria Garlo who lived there. The preserve now contains 292 acres including a 37-acre shallow lake, three ponds and 35 acres of additional wetlands.
Three miles of trails are available for hiking, and 8 miles of equestrians trails.
A handicapped-accessible boardwalk opens the natural areas to people in wheelchairs.
The preserve also features a nature center, butterfly garden, picnic shelter, picnic tables and resting benches and observation decks.
In the preserve's historic village, one log cabin and a blacksmith shop have been restored, and a second log cabin restoration is well under way.
Through the work of many volunteers the park has become a welcoming respite for visitors, Brown said.
"It has become a place for everyone. Parents can take their children to visit the wildlife. Schools take the opportunity to educate youngsters about the abundance of nature," she said. "Folks walk around the ponds to get away from it all and clear their minds. One can sit close to Alma's Pond and listen to the silence. You can visit trees where eagles have nested and say 'hi' to Hank the Bullfrog."
She said the "hugging tree," a 200-year-old oak, provided a great backdrop for pictures.
Oktober Fest was started eight years ago to provide funds for park improvements.
"Since the first Oktober Fest it has grown by leaps and bounds with visitors doubling each year," Brown said. "It enables the Friends to continue their plans. So come out, bring the children, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, have some good food, meet your friends and have a good time."
Admission and parking are free.
Event proceeds go to support the Seneca County Park District.
Garlo preserve's address is 5777 S. SR 19, Bloomville.