PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — This past weekend was a celebration of a culture that is part of the heritage of many Central Illinois families.
The 2021 Peoria Oktoberfest ran Sept. 17-19, hosted by the Peoria Park District and the German American Central Society.
“Peoria sits in the middle of what is called ‘the German triangle’ between Milwaukee and St. Louis and out in Ohio,” said Craig Ruffolo, Treasurer of the German American Central Society. “Peoria has a lot of German heritage and a lot of German names that you might recognize in some of our businesses.”
Ruffolo cited Trefzger’s bakery in Peoria Heights as an example.
One man, Allan Hedeman, works as the Chairman of the German Heritage tent. He also plays the alphorn, a German instrument. “Al’s Pals” is one of many live bands that played German music throughout the festival weekend.
“I’ve been working on [the festival] since it developed about 25 years ago,” Hedeman said.
Men and women wore traditional German clothing and participated in events like the beer stein holding competition and the log-sawing contest.
The German Heritage Exhibit also offered festival-goers the chance to learn about German history and genealogy.