Park Staff ‘Beyond Excited’ for Oglebayfest

ools and the leaves change, two things at Oglebay Park remain constant – the coming of Oglebayfest and the excitement for it.

The annual fall celebration, now in its 45th year, will begin Friday at Oglebay between the Good Zoo and Wilson Lodge. Vendors will include artisans – both of arts and crafts and of food – looking to attract new customers from the thousands of attendees looking to spend time with friends and family among the autumn leaves.

Herb Faulkenberry, Oglebay’s vice-president of sales and marketing, said the park was elated to play host to the festival, hoping that Monday’s beautiful weather will be indicative of the weekend’s.

“We are beyond excited. If the weather holds the way it is today, this is going to be absolutely fantastic,” Faulkenberry said. “One of the things about Oglebayfest is the consistency of it.”

Faulkenberry pointed to the Rathskeller, a German-style beer hall, as one of Oglebayfest’s most beloved fixtures.

“The Rathskeller is once again going to be at the Hess Shelter. It is, without a doubt, one of Oglebayfest’s most popular destinations. … If you were in Munich, attending Oktoberfest, it’s the same vibe. There’s incredible food, a variety of beers, live music, and everything from bratwurst to German chocolate cake.”

The vendors, Faulkenberry said, always have new wares to deal in, even if the same shops return from year to year. The variety of shops, he said, is one of his favorite parts of the festival.

“The Phil Maxwell Artists’ & Gourmet Market has always got brand-new vendors in it,” he said. “Personally, that’s one of my favorites. I look at the art, I get a chance to talk to the artisans, and the gourmet foodstuff and wines you can buy are just phenomenal.”

He added that the wide variety of attractions serve as the primary draw to Oglebayfest — people of all ages can find something to look forward to.

“You literally have something for everyone. Little kids have things going on for them, as well as the adults. The ebb and flow make this an all-day, whole-family event. Kids enjoy dancing to polka music, and the adults, as the music goes into the evening, love it as well.

“Without a doubt, the kettle corn person is busier than anyone I’ve ever seen, they have a consistent line the entire time they’re here. They make fabulous kettle corn, the kids are munching on that while the parents are looking at art, if you’re a collector, it’s an opportunity for some really unique pieces ranging from jewelry to dinnerware to pottery, you name it.”

Parking is free, and shuttle services will be made available throughout the entire festival.

This weekend also will mark the first weekend for the Good Zoo’s October staple, “Boo at the Zoo.” That event will be held Oct. 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, and 28-30 at the zoo. Friday hours are 5-8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Timed entry tickets are required.

This year’s “Boo at the Zoo” will feature treat stations and a virtual scavenger hunt along the zoo’s decorated outdoor walking pathway. Proceeds benefit the care and conservation of Good Zoo animals.

“Come out and have a great time,” Faulkenberry added.


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