5th Annual Augsburg Fall Fest

by | Sep 1, 2012 | Features

Story by Dr. Earl Schrock

On the second Saturday of October (October 13 this year), the cars begin to arrive on the top of Augsburg Mountain. Parking attendants direct them into their places in the open field much like motioning cows into their stalls to be milked. It is time for the Augsburg Fall Fest.
Augsburg Fall Fest is a day of celebration for a long-standing German immigrant community, a homecoming for a number of people scattered across the country, an opportunity to visit with folks you probably haven’t seen since the last Fall Fest, and fun for the whole family. People come from Minnesota, California, Oklahoma, and Texas to help the Augsburg residents put on the festival.

The small rural community of Augsburg was formed by German immigrants in the early 1880’s. In 1883, these first immigrants established a Lutheran church on the top of the mountain, which has been in continuous existence for 129 years. The members of this church, although knowledgeable about their past, are looking toward the future.
At the 5th Annual Augsburg Fall fest, on Saturday, October 13, they would like to share with others their German heritage and their interest in developing the community in the years to come. There is no admission fee to attend the festival; it is free to all who come.
Growing by leaps and bounds, the festival, located at Zion Lutheran Church at the intersection of Arkansas Highway 333 and Augsburg Road, offers activities that bring hundreds of visitors to the top of the mountain. The church sits on 40 tree-covered acres purchased by the German founders from the Iron Mountain Railroad Company.
This year’s festival begins at 8 a.m. with a non-competitive Bike Race for fun and fitness. Anyone interested in entering this race may contact Rusty Dorn at (479) 746-6676.
Since the primary occupation of the early settlers in the Augsburg area was farming, the festival features a tractor pull, sponsored by the River Valley Antique Machinery Club (Branch 32 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association). The tractor pull, in its third year at the festival, will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. There will also be a display of antique farm machinery.

Kids’ games will be conducted in the morning from 10 a.m. until noon, and bump- and-jumps will be available throughout the day. Children can also ride ponies all day and visit the petting zoo, two of the most popular events at the festival.
Visitors to the festival can wander through the silent auction, offering all kinds of interesting items, many of which are antique or handmade. At mid-day, there will be an old-fashioned cake walk. Shoppers will find unique objects at the arts and crafts booths, and the educational booths have information about businesses, industries, and services available in this area. Anyone interested in having a booth at the festival may call JoAnn Dorn at (479) 331-2302.
Entertainment is scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. and from noon to 3 p.m. Local musicians, both instrumental and vocal, are featured at the festival.
German bratwursts, sauerkraut, and hot German potato salad are always a favorite with festival goers, but many other food items as well as tempting desserts are available.
The drawing for a side of grass-fed beef, provided by Rusty Dorn, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tickets, available by calling 331-3483 or at the festival, are $1.00 or 6 for $5.00. The day’s activities conclude with bingo.
All of the proceeds from the festival are divided between the River Valley Free Christian Clinic and the Augsburg Food Pantry. The Christian Clinic, located in Dardanelle, offers free medical, dental, and eye services to residents of the River Valley who are unable to afford them. The Augsburg Food Pantry, sponsored by the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League at Zion Lutheran Church, has been in continuous existence for over 20 years and supplies food to individuals and families in need. The Augsburg Food Pantry feeds from 250 to 300 people each month.
The public is invited to come and enjoy a beautiful fall day in this serene setting atop Augsburg Mountain (located north of London on Highway 333 and Augsburg Road or northwest of Dover).
“Bring your whole family, enjoy some good German food, hear good music, bid on some items in the silent auction, participate in the games and cake walk, and just relax in the country atmosphere.”
Organizers say, “It is a rare opportunity where you can feel good about spending your money, knowing that the dollars that you spend will improve the way of life of many people throughout the River Valley by providing them food and medical services.”

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