By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

As Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce representatives put it in a recent social media post a couple, what a rollercoaster the last several months have been. Despite several events and local festivities being canceled or postponed, chamber staff said they’re excited to host Elkhorn Oktoberfest.

The 15th Annual Elkhorn Oktoberfest is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 at Veterans Park in downtown Elkhorn. This family friendly event will be an outdoor festival that will offer social distancing and safety measures.

In an effort to offer a safer experience, the nearly 100 craft and commercial vendors will be spread out throughout Veterans Park this year.

“With over 3.5 acres of grassy area we have plenty of event grounds to properly space our vendors throughout Veteran’s Park,” chamber staff said.

And, there will be plenty of food vendors.

“Walk the line on Wisconsin Street and enjoy local and German cuisine from one of our 15-plus food vendors,” staff said.

The classic car show will still happen in the parking lot of the Walworth County Government Center on the backside of Veterans park.

The Christmas Card Town unveiling will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the park.

A new twist that aims to be safe will be the All Around Town Beer/Wine Tasting. The chamber invited the downtown businesses with proper beer/wine licensing to participate as tasting destinations.

“The beer and wine tasting this year is not being held in one area as it has in the past. Local establishments have partnered with us and will host the beer and wine sampling. Additionally, an outdoor sampling area will be set up in the lot next to the chamber building,” said Chris Clapper, chamber director.

Glasses for the sampling can be purchased at a chamber tent in Veterans Park. The chamber will also have maps available showing the participating establishments.

“We ask people to please be patient at our partners’ businesses since they’ve stepped up to help us this year,” Clapper said.

There will be live music beginning at noon and playing throughout the afternoon. The chili cook-off and kids’ inflatables area however, have been canceled as both presented challenges with social distancing guidelines.

“We look forward to seeing all our local chili competitors in 2021,” Clapper said.

The Elkhorn Oktoberfest 5K Run & 2 Mile Walk will start at 9:30 a.m. This race is perfect for all levels of competitors. It begins in the Chase Bank parking lot (behind Friends on the Square) makes its way through town and the fairgrounds and ends at Oktoberfest downtown.

The race is a timed event and there will be awards for the top finishers in each age group. There is also a remote runners option for those who want to participate from elsewhere.

Early bird pricing has ended so the current cost to participate is $35 for adults and $20 for students. Packets can be picked up from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce, 203 E. Walworth St. or on race day from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. in the Chase Bank parking lot.

For more details or to register for the run/walk visit

Though it won’t be the same this year, Clapper said she’s thankful they’re able to host the event.

“We’ve scaled it back from what it usually is but we’re doing the best we can and trying to make it safe,” Clapper said.


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