My story for The News Messenger...enjoy.
Sinkland Farms on Route 8 in Riner is holding their annual Pumpkin Festival on weekends in October and last weekend it also saw the addition of Oktoberfest. The Pumpkin Festival at Sinkland Farms has been a popular event for many years and adding an Oktoberfest dinner and celebration was a logical addition. Although the Pumpkin Festival stretches over several weekends, the Oktoberfest was only this last Friday and Saturday.
The Pumpkin festival features local vendors like Grandma Alice’s Apple Butter of Blacksburg. They were making apple butter the old fashioned way in a large copper kettle over a wood fire; constantly stirring to breakdown the apples into a smooth consistency that tastes great on a hot biscuit.
The festival has pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can even shoot smaller pumpkins out of a massive, custom built, pneumatic pumpkin cannon. For a few dollars you can aim and fire a pumpkin over one hundred yards down range.
Music was provided last Saturday by the Nostalgic But Cool Band featuring Jerry Lee VonDell on guitar. He was the former lead guitarist for the VonDells. Classic rock emanated across the field of the festival as parents and children picked out their pumpkins.
Inside the store the line for ice cream was out the door and Red Rooster Roasters of Floyd brewed coffee by the the cup. Kettle corn and other snacks were available throughout the day.
The Corn Maze was themed Gone Fishin’. It featured twelve stations that educated maze walkers on what the world would be like without corn. The maze is open on weekends until eight at night and flashlights are issued to navigate in the dark.
The Oktoberfest celebration was held in the event barn and was sold out both Friday and Saturday nights. German cuisine was served by Classic Caterers and included home made bratwurst, beer braised chicken, braised red cabbage and apples, potato cakes, hot potato salad and Black Forest chocolate chip cookies, to name just part of the buffet.
The Sauerkraut band, led by Director Ed Schwartz, provided entertainment for the evening. The event barn was turned into a festhall as the brass sounds of traditional Bavarian music compelled diners to sway in their seats, dance to polka music, and toast to the words of Ein Prosit Der Gemutlichkeit. Schwartz served in the army in Bavaria and for twenty-five years has kept the Sauerkraut band playing and yodeling around Virginia.
Beer was available to those of age and was served by volunteers from the Intellectual Disabilities Agency of the New River Valley, with all proceeds going to the agency. The IDA, a United Way partner agency, provides social, recreational, educational activities and advocacy for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the New River Valley.
The weather completely cooperated for both events with lots of sunshine and a little cool in the evening. The Pumpkin Festival happens every weekend in October and Oktoberfest will most likely be back again next year.