5th Annual Oktoberfest In Blue Rapids


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Five years ago members of the Blue Rapids Fire Department decided to raise additional funds for the city’s July 4th fireworks show.

“We enjoy shooting fireworks and decided we wanted to raise more money so we could shoot more,” said Ryan Woodyard, chief of police for the city of Blue Rapids and member of the volunteer fire department.

The volunteers organized Oktoberfest. The funds raised from the event were added to those provided by the Blue Rapids Chamber of Commerce to put on a fireworks show for area residents.

“The Chamber contributes $3000 to the fireworks and last year we were able to contribute $2500 because of the success of Oktoberfest,” Woodyard explained.

Over the years Oktoberfest has grown and this year has some new features. In its fifth year Oktoberfest will be Saturday, October 14, from 4:00 p.m. until midnight on the Blue Rapids Square.

“We moved it to utilize the bandstand,” Woodyard said.

The bandstand used to be the office for the Blue Rapids police department and, at one time, the city clerk’s office. Recently, Woodyard worked with volunteers and members of the city’s crews to tear out the walls.

“Now we have a bandstand,” he said.

Three bands will perform in the newly renovated bandstand.

The Bryton Stoll Band kicks off the evening at 4:00 p.m. Stoll, originally from Marysville, started playing guitar when he was eleven and starting writing songs when he was fourteen. At the age of twenty-two, he has recorded three compact discs and played hundreds of shows in Kansas and Nebraska.

Classic Country Jukebox will perform after Stoll’s band at 6:00 p.m. Featuring national touring country music artist, Kevin Mac, the band will perform hits by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, John Denver, Vince Gill, Patsy Cline, Porter Wagoner, and more.

Mac tours with some of today’s hottest country music artists, but he still loves to honor the legends who came before him and paved the way for the artists of today. Mac puts a fresh spin on countless country classics engaging the audience and taking requests along the way.

The evening ends with the party band, Rewind, performing from 8:00 p.m. until midnight. The band plays rock and roll from the 1950s until the present. Scott Keller, the band’s lead singer and guitar player, said it was an easy decision for the band to perform again this year.

“It’s for a good cause and it’s a lot of fun,” Keller said.

Other band members include Jerry Horton, guitar; Rick Lister, bass; Matt Bonser, drums; and Sterling Clark, piano.

In addition to a full evening of music there will be activities for kids. An organization from Topeka, Kan. will have bouncy houses designed for children of various ages.

The fire department is hosting a Fish Fry starting at 5:00 p.m. until supplies last. A free-will donation will be accepted.

“We went through a lot of food last year,” Woodyard said.

The department is also sponsoring a beer garden from 4:00 p.m. until midnight.

The Blue Rapids Fire Department is sponsoring the event with support from the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.

“We had this great country band, Classic Country Jukebox, coming to Marshall County and we wanted to find the right location for them to perform,” said Brad Ekiss, the arts cooperative’s president. “We think this is a great partnership between our two organizations. Food, drinks, and great music all night long.”

For more information about the event people may contact Woodyard at 785-562-1197 or Ekiss at 785-562-4024.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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