Here's what to know if you plan on going to the Oktoberfest events in Hays
Oktoberfest is taking over Hays with two annual events returning this year, after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city's annual downtown Oktoberfest, hosted by the Volga German Centennial Association, takes place Oct. 1 and 2. Hays Public Library's Oktoberfest takes place Sept. 25.
Hays Public Library's Oktoberfest
Live polka music and German cuisine will take over the library 10 a.m.-1 p.m Sept. 25. The event is free and open to the public.
The library's Oktoberfest will be held in the Schmidt gallery.
According to Callie Kolacny, the library's communications coordinator, The Hotshots, a local band, will play music during the event.
"People can come and dance to a little Polka music," Kolacny said.
A special storytime in the storytime room will be held at 10 a.m. in conjunction with Oktoberfest.
Kolacny said the event is meant to celebrate the heritage of the Hays community.
"As it's getting into the fall season and it's time for Oktoberfest, we're excited to be able to host something like this and have a free event for the community and for all ages," Kolacny said. "It's just a fun event for everybody to celebrate."
Last year's Oktoberfest at the library was canceled in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction taking place at the library also played a role.
"We did a very large remodel of the library last year, and the space that we would normally use for this (event) was being used to house the collections from the second floor," Kolacny said. "It was more an issue of the remodel."
Community-wide Oktoberfest returns with a two-day event
The Volga German Centennial Association's annual Oktoberfest draws thousands to downtown Hays. Organizers anticipate a similar turnout this year.
The assocation's Oktoberfest will take place 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 1 and noon.-6 p.m. Oct. 2 at Municipal Park on Main Street.
The event is free and open to the public.
"The first day is our traditional day with food, activities and drinks and entertainment," said Emily Knowles, a Volga German Centennial Assocation board member. "Saturday is geared a little more toward kids, but there's still all the food, drinks, entertainment."
An opening ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 1, with the tapping of the keg at 11 a.m.
Events scheduled for the first day include a stein holding contest at 2 p.m., a Deutsch Hops contest at 3:30 p.m. and OktoberFEAST at 5 p.m.
Live entertainment over the two days will be provided by Jon Dolezal Band, The Hot Shots, Ron Werth Band, Rice County Line and Hays Community Theatre.
The second and final day of Oktoberfest will kick off with a German market from 7:30-11 a.m. at the 10th Street downtown pavilion.
A cornhole tournament, as well as German freeze, pumpkin pass and pumpkin roll games will take place throughout the day.
A full schedule of events can be found at oktoberfesthays.com.
Knowles said the society's Oktoberfest works to recreate the tradition of Volga Germans' church gatherings.
"We are just trying to keep (the history) going," Knowles said. "All of our vendors put a German twist on at least one of their food items."
Knowles said the society hopes the event allows the Hays community to gather with friends and family.
"We've all been kind of cooped up for a while and we are excited to give back to the community that has always been there for us," Knowles said. "It will be a fun time."