Wiener dog races. A beer belly contest. A stein-hoisting competition. Sausage. Beer. Polka.
Any of these events would be October-rific on its own, but all will be part of the new Bloktoberfest, a free party that will happen Saturday in downtown Wichita.
The event was dreamed up by Xclusive Event Services, the business owned by brother and sister Crystal McDonald and Cody Lathrop that includes a mobile bartending service and a local beer truck, and it will happen from noon to 11 p.m. on the Union Station plaza and along the street that goes between Union Station and the Rock Island Depot building. It’s the first time an event has been put on at the newly renovated plaza.
McDonald said the idea was inspired by the once-popular Old Town Oktoberfest, which happened annually in the Old Town Farm and Art Market until the late 1990s. The siblings attended with their father, who owned a concession truck, when they were children.
Their Bloktoberfest is family friendly, too, McDonald said, and it’s free to attend. People can enjoy live music and purchase food from beer gardens and food trucks, or for an extra cost, they can sample sausages and beers.
Here’s a schedule of the day’s events.
▪ King of October Beer Sampling, 12:30 p.m.: People can buy full servings of beer at the Bloktoberfest beer garden, but for $15, they also can gain admission to a sampling area that will offer tastes of local and regional seasonal beers.
▪ Wiener dog races, 12:30 p.m.: Have a dachshund who likes to run? Bring it to Bloktoberfest and see how fast its little legs will take it. The wiener dog races have become one of the most inquired-about aspects of Saturday’s event, McDonald said.
“We didn’t expect it to be so big,” she said. “It was kind of a joke in the beginning, and then it just kind of exploded. I have a feeling there’s going to be a ton of racing wieners there.”
A wiener dog costume contest also is part of the event. Canine racers can register on site.
▪ Live polka music, 12:30 p.m.: The Midian Shrine PolKatz, a group from the local Midian Shrine Center, will provide live polka music starting 12:30 and will perform two 45-minute sets.
▪ King Wiener Competition, 2-5 p.m.: Organizers rounded up 13 local businesses to participate in this sausage-making competition, admission to which also is an extra charge. The teams, from businesses like K-Lane’s, Nitro Joe’s, Mode and Specs Eyewear, devised flavor profiles for unique sausages and made them themselves at the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop under the supervision of head butcher Derik Spears. Each team will serve samples of sausages at the event, hoping for the title of King Wiener. The top prize will be $1,000 toward a charity of choice, and their sausage will be sold at the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop.
People who want to sample the sausages and vote for the best need a $15 ticket. The winner will be named at 5 p.m.
▪ Live music: 3:30 and 8 p.m.: Two live cover bands will perform throughout the afternoon and evening. Stallion starts at 3:30 p.m., and The Banned will play starting at 8 p.m. People are free to bring their lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the music, though seating also will be provided.
▪ Hot dog eating contest, 4 p.m.: May the hungriest, quickest wiener eater win. Contestants can register at the event.
▪ Beer belly contest, 4 p.m.: It’s exactly what you think it is. The possessor of the best beer belly, who can shake it with the most shimmy, will win this contest, which also has on-site registration.
▪ Stein hoist, 5:30 p.m.: This event, sponsored by Sam Adams and local liquor store Auburn Spirits, will award prizes to the two men and two women who can hold a stein in a parallel position without bending, spilling, raising or drinking for the longest amount of time. The stein will be provided.
McDonald said she and her brother hope to make Bloktoberfest an annual event. They’re thinking about throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party, too.
They expect about 2,000 people to attend on Saturday.
“It’s kind of just exploded,” she said. “I think everyone is looking for a new event especially, and it being free and that you’re able to bring your family is just a bonus.”
What: A new event by Xclusive Event Services that will include food, contests, beer and polka music
Where: Union Station plaza, 701 E. Douglas
When: Noon-11 p.m. Saturday
How much: Admission is free, but some activities require separate tickets. Beer sampling is $15, sausage sampling is $15, or beer and sausage sampling plus a T-shirt is $40. A $75 VIP package includes beer samples, sausage samples, VIP seating, a commemorative stein, tokens for the beer garden, a hat and a T-shirt.
Tickets: Available at the door or at www.ictbloktoberfest.com