For the past 37 years, Citrus Sertoma has hosted the Oktoberfest — a three-day festival of rides, music, food and beer.
Without breaking the tradition of German lore, Sertoma is changing the name of the annual event to the Family Fall Festival.
“We had to change the name,” Citrus Sertoma President Maureen Tambasco said. “The insurance company that we use for liability is out of Sertoma International; the underwriters felt that the word Oktoberfest was too high of a liability.”
The 38th annual Citrus Sertoma event will don a new name, but still offer familiar German foods, rides, music and beer.
“It’s the same event, same ride company we’ve used for many years, same German food,” Tambasco said. “It’s just the name, ‘Oktoberfest.’”
The Family Fall Festival debuts Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 8, with proceeds benefitting hearing-impaired citizens of Citrus County.
“All of the proceeds go back into the community,” Tambasco said. “What we sponsor in the community after the event is really important. Proceeds go to charities that serve children with hearing loss, Sertoma youth camp, Camp Endeavor, we also sponsor the Mission of Citrus, the Veterans Mission, Marine Science Station and the Sertoma Foundation that helps children with hearing disorders.”
From 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, Oct. 6; noon to midnight Saturday, Oct. 7; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, festival-goers can enjoy carnival rides, shop local vendors, eat traditional German dishes, drink beer, participate in drawings and dance to live music.
“If you like bratwurst and German potato cakes, this is the place to get your fill-up,” Tambasco said.
Friday and Saturday will feature the DeLeon Band playing old-world tunes and today’s hits.
“They are an eight-piece band out of Tampa,” Tambasco said. “We’ve used them for a number of years; they play a lot of the German music but they’ll also play country, rock ... they do requests, also.”
On Sunday, the festival will have a new performer, Turner Camp Dave, and a classic and custom car show.
“Come vote for your favorite car,” Tambasco said. “If individuals want to enter the car show, they can show up that morning and fill out an application; there’s no fee to enter your car.”
Through the weekend, visitors will also have the chance to participate in numerous drawings — from coolers full of alcohol to 50/50 prizes drawn on the hour.
“We put in our own dance floor, we have our own stage, we have our own kitchen,” Tambasco said. “It’s a huge production.”
Admission is $5, with children 5 and younger admitted free. Rides will be available for an additional fee.
To enter the car show, sign up to be a vendor, or to volunteer, call Tambasco at 352-422-3435.