Baldwinsville Mayor Joseph Saraceni met with Messenger Editor Erin Wisneski last Tuesday at Shamballa Café and Coffee Roasters to chat about what’s new in the village. Last week’s discussion focused on this weekend’s Oktoberfest being held from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, and noon to 11 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, at Paper Mill Island. Admission is $3 adults, $2 kids (6 to 12) and free for children 5 and under.
Mayor Joe Saraceni was very excited about the upcoming Oktoberfest, which marks the fifth year of the popular fall festival, especially considering the revenue the event generates for the village.
“Oktoberfest has a big impact on the village economically,” Joe said. “It draws an average of 4,000 people a year over the one and a half day event.”
As the financial arm of the Greater Baldwinsville Community Development Fund, the Oktoberfest has raised a minimum of $5,000 each year.
“We’ve paid out nearly $30K to local charities,” he said, adding that last year $8,500 was distributed to local charities including a donation to purchase Christmas lights for the village.
This year’s event is sponsored by Sam Adams as well as Y94FM, Tops Friendly Markets, Great Outdoors RV in Phoenix, St. Kobain and the village of Baldwinsville, Joe said. He also encouraged residents to come out to support Oktoberfest vendors including the Optimists Club, Lysander Fire Department, the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, the Van Buren Republicans, the Lysander Republicans and more.
Joe did mention the 5K run is on hiatus this year but added organizers are seeking a committee chairperson to bring the event back next year.
While the run is on hold, the Baldwinsville Optimists have brought a new element to the event – a Boat Parade of Lights scheduled to begin after sunset on Saturday, Sept. 15. Decorated boats will begin at Papermill Island and proceed through Lock 24 down the Erie Canal toward Phoenix. Some boats will start at Onondaga Lake Marina and merge into the parade.
“It’s an exciting new event and we’re looking forward to partnering with the Optimists’ club,” Joe said. “It’s a unique event to tie into Oktoberfest.”
People on the shore can enjoy viewing the decorated boats as they cruise along the shoreline while boaters can enjoy entertainment on Paper Mill Island featuring Twisted Folk, Saturday night’s headliner (performing onstage from 7:45 to 11 p.m.). Friday night’s headliner is Fritz’ Polka Band (8 to 11 p.m.) and The Enzians Bavarian Band and Dancers will return to perform authentic German music both days of the event (4 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon to 7:15 p.m. Saturday). The mayor said Virgil the Magician will also organize a family tent from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Oktoberfest is a great end of the season celebration and a chance for the community to come together and celebrate the end of summer,” Joe said.
Mayor Saraceni and Editor Wisneski are scheduled to meet for coffee at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Big Mama’s Diner in Smokey Hollow Plaza. Community members are welcome to join them for coffee and address your concerns about the village with the mayor or send your questions to email@example.com and Editor Wisneski will ask the mayor for you.