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>> KIDTOBERFEST TAKES LITTLE TOURISTS ON A TOUR THROUGH CUISINE, CUSTOMS AND CULTURE
KIDtoberfest gives children a chance to get on the Oktoberfes fun

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Date published: 9/27/2012

BY COLLETTE CAPRARA

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

This Saturday, the popular Capital Ale House Oktoberfest will have a companion festival, the KIDtoberfest, which will offer children and families an interactive virtual journey through Germany.

The children's event was the brainchild of Leigh Anne Van Doren, who launched the Fredericksburg Parent & Family magazine 14 years ago and, since that time, has consistently sought to promote community collaboration and interaction in the area.

As Fredericksburg Parent & Family grew to a multimedia company that includes a website, facebook page, twitter feed, events postings and an educational arm dubbed Science Saturdays, its community partners and supporters continually grew. The KIDtoberfest is evidence of this longstanding and expanding network of friends.

"I've been impressed and happy with how much the community has supported us. We had a great number of community members come forward to be a part of the KIDtoberfest," said Van Doren. Those partners include 20 merchants, non-profit organizations and craftsmen, as well as the Capital Ale House, the Fredericksburg Department of Parks and Recreation, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, and the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation.

The virtual tour through Germany will focus on a passport that all children will receive free of charge when they register. As the young "tourists" visit booths and tables at participating local shops and stations set up throughout Market Square, they will learn the answers to questions about German foods, customs and culture of the early German settlers of our area and receive a stamp at each site. Completed passports can be presented for a raffle ticket for a drawing with a host of prizes provided by local businesses and organizations.

The virtual tour will climax with a visit to the Capital Ale House Kinderplatz area, which will feature face painting, balloon animals, bounceable inflatables and a "petite retreat" spa with glitter tattoos.

Craft stations will provide materials and instruction for take-home creations including edelweiss hats, German flags and Bavarian pennants. In addition, PNC Bank will feature a display on German currency, and Fredericksburg Parent will provide information on trailblazing German scientists and registration forms for Science Saturdays (an educational program in science and technology for girls in grades 4-7 that is offered through a partnership with Germanna Community College).

Throughout the day, entertainment from Elby Brass, local musician Gaye Adegbalola, the Happy Dutchmen oompah band and the Hirschjager German Dancers will add to the festive atmosphere. Additional features include Polka Dot polka lessons and root-beer-making demonstrations, and delectable German treats will be available for sampling and purchase.

"The KIDtoberfest will be a fun-filled, free event where families can learn something together, not only about another country but also about our area," said Fredericksburg Parent & Family spokeswoman Heidi DiEugenio. "And I always think it's fun to be a tourist in our own town!"

Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.


What: KIDtoberfest When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Registration and activity hub at Market Square, William and Princess Anne streets, Fredericksburg Cost: KIDtoberfest passport and activities are free of charge. Oktoberfest Kinderplatz (George Street) admission is $2 and proceeds will be donated to the Fredericksburg Area Service League. Info: 540/374-1495; FredericksburgParent.net