THREE OAKS — A fall street celebration is being organized in Three Oaks.
“Oktoberfest” (formerly known as “Wurstfest”) is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.
The event is envisioned as a celebration of local butchers, bakers, farmers and breweries for local families and visitors “powered by the River Valley Mustangs.”
Suzanna Bierman (of the Downtown Development Authority and the Three Oaks Makers and Merchants Alliance) said organizers are hopeful for good weather (but have a tent as a back-up plan)
A line-up of live musicians would perform on a stage set up on South Elm Street in front of Big C Lumber. Food such as brats, kraut and apple pie sourced from local providers (such as the adjacent Drier’s Meat Market) will be served in the nearby village parking lot, with local Oktoberfest lagers will be poured in a fenced-off beer area. A carnival-like area for children and teens offering activities such as apple-bobbing, face painting and a petting zoo also is being proposed.
Three Oaks Oktoberfest is envisioned as the start of a a new tradition as the annal fall event in the village.
The festival grounds would be located on South Elm Street from Linden Street to the railroad tracks. Admission would be free with food and drink tickets for sale.
In addition to Bierwirth, Three Oaks Oktoberfest organizers include Shelly Young and Carol Himmel (chefs and event planners); Gail Freehling and Dyane Thomas-Niemzyk of the River Valley Mustangs Foundation; Johanna Welter and Carolyn Drier of the DDA.
The Village Council approved a 2023 Three Oaks Village Event Schedule that includes Oktoberfest. Also included in the schedule are: the Three Oaks Farmers Market (Fridays May 26-Sept. 29); the Flag Day 5K (June 10): the Flag Day Parade (June 11); the Apple Cider Century bike tour (Sept. 24); Journeyman’s Barrel-Aged Brewfest (Oct. 14); the Snowflake Stroll Parade and Tree-Lighting (Nov. 25).
In another Dec. 14 matter, the Village Council was informed of plans to seek public input on the issue of short-term rentals in the village via a survey with questions related to how people feel about and have been affected by short-term rentals; what respondents think their overall affect is on the village; whether or not they think their should be a cap on the number of short-term rentals allowed; and free-form comments on the benefits and disadvantages of short-term rental properties.
Village President Richard Smith said the plan is to get the survey out via Google Survey (there will be a link on the village website and Facebook page) after the holidays to provide information for the existing Short-Term Rental Committee that is scheduled to continue meeting until May.
In other Dec. 14 Three Oaks Village Council business:
• Village Manager Dan Faulkner said the title commitment and survey for the building at 21 North Elm St. has been competed and sent to Berrien County. “The next step is to set a closing date,” he added. The Village Council on Oct. 12 approved moving forward with the acquisition from Berrien County of the “Three Oaks Professional Building” where village offices are currently located.
• The dollar amount being requested ($731,400) to an application for a state Spark Grant was added. The grant is being sought to help fund improvements to the east side of Watkins Park including an ADA-accessible walking path around the Timbertown playground connecting to Hoadley Trail, adding pickleball courts, repaving a parking lot, adding benches and trash receptacles, and planting native trees.
• A $1 per hour wage increase was approved for Water/Sewer Department employee Nick Fulbright.
• The council accepted with regret the resignation of longtime Planning Commission members Darlene Heemstra; re-appointed Tom Flint and appointed Dyane Thomas Niemzyk to the Planning Commission. New Village Council member Lois Jones was named liaison to the Planning Commission.
• Joe Hinman was appointed Village President Pro-Tem.
• While reporting on the Downtown Development Authority, Hinman said a three-year agreement is being sought to have Cathi Rogers serve as manager of the Farmers Market.