Thousands braved chilly weather to support non-profits at Appleton's Octoberfest

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APPLETON, Wis. Thousands of people braved the chilly weather Saturday morning at Appleton’s Octoberfest. The family friendly event featured, food, music and of course, beer.

The festival kicked off Saturday morning with a ceremonial toast downtown, celebrating non-profits in the community who received grants.

"The energy level is just electric, because it's a community coming together. It's a family reunion for many people, it's a class reunion, just family and friends gathering back together again to celebrate the year, but also celebrate community and that's what it's all about," said Eric Stadler, Chairperson of Appleton’s Octoberfest.

"Definitely the event in general is a big draw for the area so we hit it up every year, it's great," said Christopher Noack from Kaukauna.

For some, Octoberfest is known as a 'good time,' but it's also a chance to give back to more than 85 Fox Cities area non-profits.

“What we always do is set the stage for over 85 different non-profit organizations to set up a food booth and make it their major fundraiser for the year so that they can make a lot of money to put back into the community with the good things they do each year," Stadler says.

"That's the best part of it all, that's how they make their money for the year, and that's very nice, it's a good thing," said Susan Brockman from Neenah.

Stadler says every year 200,000 people make it down to Appleton’s Octoberfest. In 37 years, the event has given more than $2.5 million to Fox Cities Communities.

"Well we received a grant from them this year, it’s the first time we'd receive an Octoberfest grant, and what we did is we put it toward our transitional housing program, which will serve families in the community transitioning out of local shelters to provide them a safe place to kind of put their life back together," said Ryne Lodl with Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities.

Beers, bands, food and good company, just some of the reasons why Octoberfest lovers come back year after year.

"The music is great and certainly the food is a big draw too so we love it" said Noack.

“Running into people you haven't seen for you know a long time, finding the different crafts and different things to do and different foods, there’s everything on a stick," said Lynn Lichterman from Appleton.

“The good food, and the crafts, and all the people, and the bands, this is the most fun thing ever," adds Brockman.