Lowell celebrates German heritage with Octoberfest | News, Sports, Jobs

Benton Tidd, 2, liked to paint a little pumpkin. (Photo by Doug Loyer)

LOWELL – Held on Buell Island in the Muskingum River, the 44th annual Lowell Octoberfest this weekend saw the biggest crowd in years.

With a scenic cornfield and the river in the background, a light autumn breeze and the aroma of some of the best food in the world, Lowell Octoberfest celebrates the area’s German heritage. The laid-back festival created the perfect atmosphere to relax, eat, enjoy live entertainment and catch up with friends and relatives.

Dishes included fire roasted chicken, bratwurst sausage, sauerkraut, German potato salad, rubens, noodles, soup beans, cream puffs, ice cream, apple dumplings, apple butter and fresh lemonade.

Live entertainment was complemented by a flea market, antiques, arts and crafts, pony rides, petting zoo, and vendors around the island’s walking path.

The Lowell Octoberfest is a local tradition and has helped Buell Island’s infrastructure and improvements over the years. Profits helped maintain the park’s pool, shelters and lighting system.

The pedestrian bridge was opened to allow the passage of the Gem of the Valley. (Photo by Doug Loyer)

“We have a lot of people today” said organizer Terry Schwendeman. “We’ve had nice crowds the past few years, but nothing like it. We were concerned about the schedule this year, but everything went well. It went really well!”

Schwendeman’s mother, Mildred Schwendeman, 91, is a legend at Lowell for her potato salad and other ethnic German dishes. She’s been there since the first Octoberfest 44 years ago.

“It’s still going strong because we have a lot of good people,” said Mildred. “Our concern is not to run out of potato salad. It is very popular.

Mildred said they make German potato salad like they used to, no shortcuts. About 60 gallons of gravy were made for the weekend’s event and a big thank you to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Beverly for cooking 750 pounds of potatoes, she said.

Another Octoberfest favorite is the wood-fired roast chicken. The Lowell-Adams Fire Department and other volunteers have been preparing the chickens for years and have mastered the system like an art.

Organizers roasted 1,100 chickens over the fire for this year’s Lowell Octoberfest. (Photo by Doug Loyer)

“We are doing 1,100 chickens this year over two days,” said fire chief Josh Harris. “This team prepared and seasoned the chickens on Thursday. Today some of them were there at 5 am and started the fire to roast.

With eight rotisserie poles, each containing 40 chickens, 320 were slow roasted at a time over the wood fire for 3½ to 4 hours.

“If you want to have a good time, this is a good place to be,” Marietta’s Brad Rauch said as he ate a Ruben sandwich.

Rauch grew up in the Rainbow area and attends there every year for food and to catch up with friends and relatives.

Rauch’s mother, Peggy Lowers, also from the Rainbow region, has been coming to the festival since the beginning.

Festival-goers discovered the many artisans and vendors. (Photo by Doug Loyer)

“I like to come see my relatives and see what the sellers have”, says Lowers.

She likes that the festival promotes German heritage. His family roots say in Sinsheim, Germany.

Lowers said she was familiar with Schilling’s reconstructed cabin on Buell Island. It came from the Rainbow region and was built in 1840.

“I spent a lot of time in this cabin” says Lowers. “I lived just around the corner in the Rainbow area when I was a kid. We played in the basement of this cabin which was their kitchen.

Lowell’s Chuck Schmidt is also an Octoberfest fan.

Silvus Farms of Beverly had a huge selection of pumpkins and squash at Octoberfest. (Photo by Doug Loyer)

“I come every year” said Schmidt. “I love food and music. They have a nice variety of music. It helps keep this island alive and this festival has great food. It’s a good time.

Dexter City’s Morgan Tidd is also a repeat at the festival.

“I came to this several years ago,” said Tidd.

This year she brought her two children, Benton Tidd, 2, and Adlee Tidd, 1. They loved to paint pumpkins.

“It’s sunny and there are a lot of vendors” said Tidd. “We love food and crafts and it’s fun to do!”

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