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Oktoberfest will be in downtown Hastings Sept. 26

An outdoor beer garden, a chili cook-off, pumpkin carving and painting, food vendors, a street dance, and appearances from the Hamm's Beer Bear. It must be Oktoberfest again.

The Downtown Business Association has something planned for everyone at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, in downtown Hastings. There will be family-friendly activities throughout the day and evening, and plenty of fun for adults during the day and into the night.

All the events will be in the downtown area, with most family-oriented events taking place on East Second Street east of Sibley Street. The beer garden will be on East Second Street west of Sibley Street.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a farmer's market downtown hosted by Spiral Natural Foods. The Hastings Taste of the Arts will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Ramsey Street north of East Second Street. It's being put on by the Hastings Art Council and will feature local and regional artists. There will also be an open air craft and antique market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be face painting and a clown from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., an inflatable castle for kids to jump in and a Velcro wall going on all day. Hay wagon rides and antique tractors will be on display from noon to 6 p.m.

The chili cook-off will begin at noon, and participants must have a food handling license from the state of Minnesota. To enter the chili cook-off, contact Tatia Mills at 438-6887.

There will also be a barbecue competition going on throughout the day, which organizers are calling the "Smoke on the River Cook-Off." Participants in the cook-off must also have a food handling license from the state. Participants are still needed; contact Kevin Hoeschen at 437-4400 for more information.

The beer garden will be outdoors on East Second Street. The Hamm's Beer Bear will be making appearances from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be 250 plastic beer mugs available for purchase in the beer garden, which will come with discounted refills.

Various contests with prizes, such as a beer barrel roll, a frozen T-shirt contest and a "peanut push" (in which participants must push peanuts a set distance using only their nose), will occur throughout the day.

Finally, a band called Stockcar Named Desire will play at the street dance from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. to finish out the night. Mark Gelhar, a DJ from 16pennyproductions, will perform from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There is no charge for admittance.