ALTON - It was a beautiful afternoon as St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School kicked off the second day of their 16th annual St. Mary’s Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.

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The festivities started on Friday night and continued through 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. Live music, inflatables, raffles, auctions and plenty of food and drink have welcomed community members to downtown Alton for the three-day event.

“When our parish started back in 1858, it was started by German immigrants, so that’s why we decided to have an Oktoberfest, to kind of celebrate that German heritage that started our parish,” organizer Carolyn Simansky said of the tradition.

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A keg tapping ceremony at 1 p.m. on Saturday started the day’s events. Classic German and American foods were available throughout the weekend, including bratwursts, frankfurters, turkey legs, hamburgers, kettle corn and more. People enjoyed a variety of beer and wine or check out this year’s signature drink, a hot, chocolate-flavored brew dubbed “St. Mary’s Schokolade.”

Kids were able to play games or check out the inflatables, while the older crowd enjoyed adult gaming, the basket raffle, an online silent auction and a live auction scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday night. Proceeds will go to St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School.

The festival was spread across 3rd Street in Alton near St. Mary’s Church, located at 536 E. 3rd Street. Bands performed on two stages throughout the weekend. St. Louis Express and the Dixie Dudes played until 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by Lady Luck at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Shake Daddies and St. Louis Express jammed from 12:30–4 p.m. and the Harman Family Bluegrass Band will rounded out the weekend from 5:30–8 p.m.

“It’s right downtown where everybody can come and celebrate with us and have a good time and just meet all the people of Alton,” Simansky added. “It was a fun weekend.”

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Related Video:

St. Mary's Oktoberfest 2018

St. Mary's Oktoberfest 2016