Home Lifestyle Arts & Entertainment Brats, brews & blues: Vino Bellissimo’s 4th annual Oktoberfest this Saturday

Brats, brews & blues: Vino Bellissimo’s 4th annual Oktoberfest this Saturday

Taylor Johnson

LIMA – Vino Bellissimo is ready to satisfy your food and drink cravings with its juicy bratwurst, craft brews and all-day entertainment at its 4th annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 24.

This years event features the Cincy Brass, a show stopping 9 piece brass band from Cincinnati that plays everything from New Orleans Jazz to Dr. Dre.

While the focus of the event is to provide top-notch entertainment, food and beverages, the real goal is to raise funds for the Blues Committee of Lima and the Blues in School Artist in Residency program, a non-profit arts program that brings artists to Lima schools for one week to teach young people about the Blues.

Jerry “Pickle” Felter of the Lima’s Blues Committee says when they started the Blues in School program more than 20 years ago, it about bringing big acts to Lima so residents wouldn’t have to travel out of town to see their favorite bands.

“But after a few years, it turned completely around and now it’s all about doing something for the kids,” said Felter.

The Blues Committee mission is to preserve Blues history, support Blues education in the schools, and celebrate Blues excellence through performances. The group has brought more than 75 Blues acts to Lima for the enjoyment of the music and to educate our children in our community since 1992.

For year’s, the organizations top fundraising event, Pickle’s Blues Extravaganza, was held at Memorial Hall, but since the building was mothballed, the fundraiser was left without a home.

That’s when Marc Reinicke, co-owner of Vino Bellissimo, reached out to Pickle and asked about incorporating the program into their annual Oktoberfest.

“Once Memorial Hall was shut down and the festival was displaced, we started looking at ways to pick up some fundraising opportunities to help this program continue. We didn’t want it to go away,” said Reinicke.

He and his wife Carissa had been attending the festival for years and recognized the importance of the program.

To help with fundraising efforts, all the proceeds from table sales at Vino Bellissimo’s Oktoberfest go directly to the Blues Committee of Lima. A table of eight is $250 and must be reserved by Wednesday. reserve table now »

“It’s not as much as they used to make at the festival, but it’s something that can keep it going until they find a new home,” he said.

It’s the second year Vino Bellissimo has donated its proceeds to the Blues Committee of Lima.

Last year, Reinicke had the opportunity to witness first hand what the program means to the kids. Blues musician Geneva Red spent a week at Liberty Arts Magnet School and Lima Senior High School, working with Liberty eighth graders and Lima Senior Jazz Band members.

“I really got a neat experience when I went to give Pickle the check last year. I was with some other community members that helped, including John Heaphy who is a big supporter, and we all sat there and watched these kids perform. They were so proud of what they learned – they were really jamming up there! As soon as I saw that, I asked if we could do it again next year,” he said.

“If we can help this program and have fun doing it, why wouldn’t we? That’s kind of our philosophy here anyways.”

Pickle says the artists get just as emotionally involved as the kids.

“There’s been so many times, when it’s the last day, that the kids are crying, the artists are crying, they are all so sad it’s over,” he said. “But man, what a cool experience they all got. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we are doing everything we can to keep this program going.”

This year’s event also includes food from local vendors, games, prizes, wine, and more than 40 beers on tap.

Heidelberg & Sam Adams will also host a Stein Hoisting Competition. Competitors are required to hoist a one-liter glass stein filled with Samuel Adams OctoberFest, with a straight arm, for as long as possible. If you sip, spill, or bend your arm, you’re out! Winner gets tickets to the Bengals vs. Browns. game.

Parking is available thanks to Chief’s, with shuttle service to Vino Bellissimo provided by RTA.

Reserve table now or visit vinobmo.com for more information.