German celebration creates lasting history

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Old Munichburg Association brought the community out to celebrate German culture during Saturday's Oktoberfest. 

The annual festival was held in the city's historic German neighborhood, Old Munichburg. Germans settled in the area during the 19th century, setting up businesses and schools.

“As Jeff City has of course evolved and become more americanized, some of those German influences have disappeared a little bit, so it’s important for us to have the festival so we can remember those German ties and the ancestry and our heritage and celebrate that," said Becky Bocklage, the president of the Old Munichburg Association. 

One of the association members, Susan Ferber, said many people have fond memories of the area even if they are not still living in the neighborhood.  

Today the German heritage is seen in the architecture of local buildings and churches in the south-side neighborhood. The Old Munichburg Association works to preserve the history through the funds collected during the Oktoberfest. 

The association works on various beautification projects and renovations that celebrate the area's history. 

Oktoberfest is the assocation's primary fundraiser to complete the projects. 

Money through food sales, merchandise and vendor fees go to the assocaition's budget. 

Dancers, traditional meals, a beer garden and a dachshund derby celebrated the traditional heritage. Saturday's activities were more americanized than Friday's with vendors selling food and crafts. 

While the festival is important to the association, Bocklage said it is also important to the city and vendors involved. 

"The folks come from all over to Jefferson City. They get a chance to see our beautiful city, our capital, to visit not only our neighborhood but other neighborhoods," Blockage said. 

For the vendors, the event also offered the opportunity to get out in the community. 

Vanessa Koller operates Beef Stick Bills and sells most of her beef sticks at festivals like Oktoberfest throughout mid-Missouri. 

"We don't sell in stores and we like it that way. It's mom-and-pop," Koller said. 

Saturday's Oktoberfest was the 16th hosted in the city and has grown from 500 people to 10,000 said the event's coordinator.