The Firemen’s Fall Fest, formerly called Oktoberfest, will kick off the area’s autumn celebrations this Saturday at the Marshall County Fairgrounds.
The event is sponsored by the Blue Rapids Fire Department and the Marshall County Arts Cooperative. Proceeds go toward the 4th of July fireworks display to be held in conjunction with the city of Blue Rapids’ sesquicentennial celebration in 2020.
“When we started this seven years ago, it was all about making more money for the fireworks, and we’re hoping we can make the show in 2020 bigger,” said Ryan Woodyard, chief of police for Blue Rapids and a member of the volunteer fire department.
The event used to be held in October and was called Oktoberfest. Inclement weather in recent years caused the groups to move the fundraiser to September to hopefully avoid cooler temperatures and rain. Since the celebration was moved to a new month, the groups decided to change its name. The basic structure of the observance, however, has not changed.
The event starts at 4 p.m. with a beer garden.
The fish fry begins at 5 p.m. The meal includes catfish, homemade baked beans, potato salad, potato chips, and tea. A freewill donation will be collected.
Taylor Kline kicks off the evening of music at 5 p.m. He will perform original songs from his debut album, “Man That’s Never Alone.” He will also play new songs about to be released on his next album.
Kline says in addition to his original music, he will play a wide range of covers from country, folk, and classic rock.
“I plan to read the crowd, too,” he said. “I’m looking forward to performing at this event for Marshall County.”
Kline credits his grandfather, who was in a number of country bands in West Virginia, for teaching him the basics of playing guitar and singing. He also points to an influential high school teacher, Tanya Wollenberg, for encouraging him to pursue his love of music.
“She was very inspirational,” Kline said. “It was really rewarding to have her play the piano on my first album.”
Kline graduated from Minneapolis High School in 2007; he currently lives in Salina, Kan.
Following Kline’s performance, the rock band, Rewind, will perform from 8:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.
Scott Keller, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, said they enjoy playing for crowds. The group has been together for nearly four years.
Other band members are Jerry Horton, guitar; Rick Lister, bass; Matt Bonser, drums; and Sterling Clark, piano.
Horton and Lister got the band started because they wanted to put a group together to learn as many of the top 1000 barroom classics as they could.
At first, the band was named The Occasionals thinking they would occasionally practice and occasionally play gigs.
“Once we realized what we had built, the name just didn’t fit,” Horton explained. “All of us started thinking about new names. Rewind came up because we were playing music from so many different decades. Everyone thought it was a perfect definition of who and what we were.”
For many years, Rewind has played at the annual event in Blue Rapids.
“The Fireman’s Fall Fest is one of those hometown events that has humble beginnings and is growing into a special celebration of our communities, as well as supporting the brave men and women who respond to emergencies,” Horton said. “We’re glad we get asked back to perform.”
In addition to the fish fry and music, there will be free activities for kids at the fairgrounds. A bounce house will be available.
For more information people may visit the arts cooperative’s website at marshallcountyarts.org.