Members of the Volga German Centennial Association and organizers of Oktoberfest Hays, announced their 2020 Oktoberfest Hays REVISION plan.


Even though the traditional Oktoberfest Hays event in Frontier Park will not occur this year, the format for 2020 will still offer the community some German traditions without the crowds.


"I cannot say without a doubt that having a traditional Oktoberfest would be in the best interest of the city of Hays, the Volga German Centennial Association, and for our local community," said Philip Kuhn, President of Oktoberfest Board. "I appreciate all the work the board and committees of Oktoberfest Hays have done. We are so fortunate to have great sponsors who have helped make our festival the greatest festival in Western Kansas. I hope with this decision it shows the unity and synergy between our sponsors, partners, and the Volga German Centennial Association. We will still have some fun activities planned to celebrate some German traditions locally throughout the month of October."


The Oktoberfest board's biggest concerns were recognizing the large group gathering given the current mandates in place and its potential to cause illness, along with impact on local nonprofit organizations that rely on the annual income they gain from the festival. For many of these organizations, Oktoberfest booths represent their sole source of income for the year. For the 2019 festival, 41 diverse organizations representing school organizations, scholarship funds, civic groups and more, collectively grossed $63,000. Oktoberfest Organizers have implemented some alternatives that can generate some income for these nonprofits while still getting to enjoy some of the traditions of Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest Hays has added a donation button on their website to help with some of the nonprofit organization’s monetary loss.


Defiance Brewery Company has teamed up with the Oktoberfest board and brewed a German Hefewizen beer, called, "Hayzenbrau" that will be distributed to several local Hays restaurants starting in September. Defiance will kick off the Oktoberfest Hays REVISION event with a live tapping of the keg on September 26 at 4 pm at their location. There will be food trucks, German music with Joe Dolzal, stein holding contest, beer puppeteer games, sales of official Oktoberfest Hays merchandise (mugs, t-shirts and hoodies) along with other activities. Defiance will abide by city ordinances that require masks and social distancing.


Other local restaurants will have "Hayzenbrau" available and will hold additional live celebrations at each of their locations. There will be several giveaway items including gift cards, shirts, hoodies, mugs and more. The participating restaurants will donate some of their proceeds to some of the nonprofit organizations that are not able to have booths this year. The list of these restaurants and details will be posted to oktoberfesthays.com and on their social media pages within the next week. Also, mugs and T-shirts with this year’s 2020 design are available on the Oktoberfest website at oktoberfesthays.com.


Oktoberfest organizers will also hold some virtual contest on their OktoberfestHays Facebook page which will announced at a later date. They did not forget to add some fun for the kiddos. There will have an online coloring contest for ages 3 to 12. Coloring sheets will be available at participating restaurants. For more details visit oktoberfesthays.com.


The Volga German Centennial Association Oktoberfest is an annual celebration of the Volga Germans of Ellis County. It is usually held at Municipal Park on the Friday and Saturday of FHSU’s Homecoming Weekend. The festival includes various activities and booths that provide food, crafts, beer and musical entertainment. Volga German Centennial Association, established in 1974, promotes the heritage of the German immigrants through the annual Oktoberfest. A portion of the proceeds from the event fund Fort Hays State University (FHSU) and NCK Technical College scholarships for descendants of Volga German heritage and fundraising for area churches in need.


For details and updates, check out their website at oktoberfesthays.com or like them on the Oktoberfest Hays Facebook page @oktoberfesthays.