By Vicki Johnson
A kick off to the Seneca County Park District's greeting-card fundraiser, tours of the newest log cabin and the return of the German bake shop are highlights of the ninth annual Oktober Fest at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve noon-5 Sunday.
Chairwoman Karin Brown, a native of Germany, said the event at the park on SR 19, south of Bloomville, features authentic German food and a 25-member German band The Deutschmeisters.
New this year are boxed greeting cards for sale by Friends of the Seneca County Park District.
"We have developed note/greeting cards with 12 different images from our parks which lent themselves to be framed," Brown said. "We will be selling boxes in various stores and at the Oktober Fest. It's a very handsome and thoughtful item for Christmas gift-giving.
Tours are to be available of the latest log cabin to be reconstructed at the park - the Hoepf-Elchert log cabin. Board member Roy Zinn is to be on hand to explain its history.
The popularity of last year's bake shop is being repeated this year.
"Last year's transformation of the Hedges-Miller log cabin into a 'baeckerei' with traditional German baked goods was an unexpected success," she said. "Again, we offer the traditional German cookies and cakes - the springerlies, gingerbread, bread from a 2,000-year-old recipe, rotweinkuchen, marzipan braid and much, much more."
All baked goods are made from scratch and no preservatives are used, she said.
Along with baked items, traditional German food is to be available.
"Our tasty and the German way of making sauerkraut will be the best with a bratwurst grilled by the boys of the Bloomville Lions Club," Brown said.
Other food items include leberkaese, or German bologna, sandwiches, red cabbage and creamy cucumber salad, potato soup "the Kaiser Wilhelm way," and authentic German bretzel straight from Munich, Germany.
"By popular demand the famous hot German potato salad has been brought back and will be available in abundance," she said.
Desserts donated by volunteers round out the meal, along with drinks.
"This year you have the opportunity to sit in a protected tent and enjoy your food, listening to the umbapa music and visiting with your friends," Brown said.
In addition to food, the park is to include family activities.
Wagon tours of the preserve are to take place again, and volunteers are adding more wagons so lines are shorter.
"We show you the art of blacksmithing in an original blacksmith shop," Brown said. "And there will be spinning demonstrations from wool of the alpacas who are also visiting."
Holly Schoen, a local artist, is to have wooden painted creations for sale, and a wood carver is to be on hand to demonstrate the art of whittling with his wood sprites, fairies and other creations.
Several vendors will have fresh produce, pumpkins and flowers including mums in bloom, and Moonshadow Design is to have hand-dyed clothing and accessories for sale.
For children, there will be professional face painting by Connie Maksemetz and a petting zoo with donkeys.
Also, Joe Moore and his international students are to provide mural painting and other children's activities.
A live wildlife exhibit is planned by Black Swamp Raptor Rehab.
"Don't forget to bring your fishing rod and see what you can catch in one of our four ponds surrounding the park," Brown said.
Funds raised by Oktober Fest benefit Friends of the Seneca County Park District, and are used to provide money for park projects, maintenance and capital improvements. The funds supplement the park district's sole annual income from farmland rental.
Admission and parking are free.
For more information on the park district, visit www.senecacountyparks.org.