Bull Valley is celebrating its 40th birthday the way most of us do — with libations.
Bull Valley Oktoberfest, returning for the third time, will offer food, drink, music, family-friendly activities and vendors. The all-ages event is held against the backdrop of changing leaves, a familiar sight this time of year in Bull Valley, which is marking the 40th anniversary of its incorporation as a village.
Of course, Oktoberfest wouldn’t be complete without beer. Local craft beers will be available for purchase by the glass. Wine lovers, meanwhile, will delight in a free wine tasting.
For the hungry set, food vendors will have something for everyone. Among the vendors are Moontime Smokin’ Que, Crystal Lake, which will offer smoked meat tacos and German-inspired food; and MJ’s Coffee Bar, McHenry, which will feature food and drinks including hot cider, lattes, burgers and bratwurst.
Oktoberfest will kick off at noon with an opening ceremony featuring a mounted color guard presentation by Operation Wild Horse, a Bull Valley-based nonprofit group that provides riding to veterans.
Padré, a local mustang stallion — the first and only wild horse to win at Dressage at Devon, a prestigious horse competition — will be “hoof-printing” his children’s book. Padré has been immortalized as a Breyer horse model. Photo ops with the horse will be welcome.
Face painting is available for kids, and pumpkin painting will be offered, thanks to pumpkins donated by Stade’s Farm and Market. Families can enjoy a photo review showcasing historical Bull Valley, and kids can enjoy a free birthday cookie while supplies last.
Though the debut of Oktoberfest in the village was in 2015, the event was mostly open only to residents and friends of the village. This year, the village is extending its invitation to the public. Organizers are hoping to draw a crowd of at least 500.
“We are very excited to open to the public. It’s been very successful the past couple of years with just our local residents,” Village President Emily Berendt said.
Decked out in lederhosen, German oompah band Die Muskimeisters will play from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Stickney House lawn, complete with cowbells and the recognizable alphorn. New to the fest this year are local bands Big Fish and Guyz with Bad Eyez. Both bands will cover hits from the last 40 years in celebration of the village’s birthday.
Vendors will also be on site, offering up a variety of goods. Jewelry, hand-made from gun casings found by villagers in Uganda, will be sold to benefit nonprofit organization Educate Bwindi. Countryside Flowers will offer mums for sale.
Oktoberfest is sponsored by the Stickney House Foundation. Proceeds from the event will benefit the foundation. The George Stickney House dates back to 1865 and currently houses the village offices and police department. This year, the foundation hopes to complete restoration of the ballroom in the historic building.
Oktoberfest will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Stickney House, 1904 Cherry Valley Road, Bull Valley. Admission is $5, children 12 and under are free. For information, visit bullvalleyoktoberfest.com.