The weather was perfect, the streets were packed and the Oktoberfest parade – the centerpiece of Marshalltown’s annual late September festival – ran smoothly on Saturday morning after the annual sunrise 5K.
The rest of the event was not seen by Oktoberfest President and Parade Director Stephanie Anderson, who was joining the parade for the first time in one of the first convertibles right behind Little Miss and Mr. Oktoberfest.
For the first-year president, who is currently seven months pregnant, not being in control has been a somewhat unnerving experience – especially after having to make some late-night changes to the parade order after late registrations were approved.
“A lot of things happened at the last minute this year, but everything seems to come through at the last minute,” Anderson said. “We even took submissions [Friday]. It always works.
“It’s an absolute must to have people helping with that, so our board is great. It was kind of weird leaving the trailhead. I noticed that even at the end of the parade route it was still full and it usually clears up. Big turnout this year.”
The parade lasted almost two hours and had about the same number of entries as the 2021 edition. However, Anderson said many entries carried multiple vehicles that were not present in last year’s edition.
Attendees ranged from five high school marching bands—Marshalltown, Grinnell, Lynnville-Sully, Nashua-Plainfield, and Roland-Story—and a number of students and student athletes representing Marshalltown Community College to longtime Marshalltown coachbuilder L. Hogeland , who has a whole fleet of vehicles for his entry. A number of local businesses and political candidates also advertised, handing out sweets to the large number of children waiting in the crowd.
After the parade, the large crowds made their way to the carnival area and the many food trucks that lined Main Street. Scott Industries offered its usual carnival fare, while Bubba’s Bar-BQ offered its ever-popular turkey drumsticks along with grilled dishes. There were also trucks from Maria’s Tacos, Forget Me Not, Gyro Palace, Boba Tea 168, WOW Donuts and more – a varied selection that left many festival-goers pondering. Anderson said she was proud of how many food vendors the event was able to attract this year.
Also impressive, Anderson said, was the cluster of vendors on Center Street. After only a very small selection of vendors attended last year’s festival, the street was lined with attendees selling clothes, soap, probiotic sodas and more.
“I love it,” Anderson said. “Angel [Campbell] handles the vendors and merchants, and she’s worked her ass off recruiting. She has to be close to what she said and we only had three or four last year.”
The early afternoon was punctuated by the annual Low Rider Car Show/Hop operated and hosted by Lizarde Hydraulics. A selection of creative and varied cars, vans and trucks with uniquely customized suspensions was on display.
As the afternoon turned into night, the anticipation of the featured musical actor – The Hype – was great. The 1980s cover band headlined for the second year in a row after their 2021 performance garnered positive reviews.
The feeling was mutual, according to guitarist Johnny Holliday.
“We were super excited. That was a lot of fun last year [Marshalltown] took good care of us,” said Holliday. “When we saw this pop up back on the calendar, we were excited to come back.”
The hype on Saturday was followed by a series of closing events on Sunday. The Chili Cook-Off returned after an absence of several years while the Motorcycle Show took place in the afternoon.
As the festival drew to a close, Vice President of the Oktoberfest Board of Directors Tammy Losing expressed her appreciation and pride for welcoming the festival and the work done to make it a good weekend for the Marshalltown community.
“I’m very proud of our entire board,” Losing said. “We had new board members and it was a learning experience for them, but they pushed hard and did a great job. I mean look at all the artisans and traders here, it’s been years and years since we’ve had that many. It’s just amazing.”
Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or [email protected]