Septemberfest features ‘a lot of fun moments’


DUBOIS — The Dubois Ruritan Club has long operated under the motto that it is building more than the Dubois Community Park, but a vital community space on the slice of land just outside the town. The club’s 17th annual Septemberfest will take place at the park Friday and Saturday — with all proceeds going back into Dubois.

Jason Hagen, Dubois Ruritan Club president, invited all in the area to check out this year’s iteration. The event usually draws a couple thousand attendees.

“It’s very humbling, because everyone comes together for the weekend to make it successful,” he said, explaining that more than just Ruritan members help keep it going. “It takes everybody.”

The fest’s whiffle ball tournament is always a hit. More teams will compete this year than any other. This contest marks the 10th anniversary of its inclusion in Septemberfest, and 25 teams of 10 people signed up for the tournament, which begins Friday night and stretches into Saturday evening. Two divisions — a youth division for those younger than 12 and a division for older participants — comprise that activity.

“We’re very excited for that because that event just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year,” Hagen said, noting the organizers added a third field last year to facilitate the larger number of teams that participate.

Hagen works in a concession stand most of the day Saturday and gets a front row seat to the action. He said the tournament is filled with “laughable moments,” such as players tripping and falling, powerful swings that cause people to fall and more.

“I saw someone dive to home plate once and did it out of fun, but they were gonna feel it the next day,” he said with a smile. “There’s a lot of fun moments for sure.”

The park opened around the time of the first Septemberfest, and local Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts have completed various grounds projects since then.

Construction of a community center building inside the park is slated to begin in October, and Hagen is hopeful the space will officially open around Easter 2019. According to Herald archives, the estimated cost of the project is $355,000, all of which was raised through fundraising.

Some of the fest dollars could go into the construction of that building, Hagen said, but a lot of the funds will go into community events such as the club’s annual breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Santa at the library. Recently, money has gone into the purchasing of Dubois Christmas lights and decorations, as well as maintenance and upkeep of the Dubois Community Park grounds.

Five percent of the fest’s proceeds will go into an endowment the club started for the future of the club, and another five percent will go to a future community service project. Hagen explained that while the Dubois Ruritan is part of the national Ruritan Club, all dollars raised at Septemberfest will stay close to home.

“Anything that we fundraise, (anytime) we raise dollars, all that money stays in the community,” he said. “Zero dollars goes back to the national organization.”

Last year’s fest was hindered by the lingering effects of a hurricane, but Hagen is hopeful that won’t be an issue this time around. As of press time, the National Weather Service projects a 20 percent chance of rain both Friday and Saturday with highs in the mid- to upper-80s.

Hagen thanked all the volunteers for their work in keeping the fest a success every year.

“None of it’s possible without community support,” he said. “We get people from the community to come out and help with these events —  umpire (at the whiffle ball tournament) and put everything together, working the food stands. The Dubois Ruritan Club can’t put the event on solely by ourselves — it takes the whole community to be able to do it.”


Septemberfest Schedule

5 p.m. Fried chicken and fish dinners, sandwiches and drinks
5 p.m. Kids games and inflatables
5 p.m. Beer garden and family garden open
5 p.m. Craft and vendor fair
6 p.m. Wiffle ball tourney
6 p.m. Little Miss and Mister Contest
6 p.m. Cornhole tournament sign-up
7 p.m. Cornhole tournament
7 p.m. Kiddie and youth tractor pull
8 p.m. Music by Iron Mountain
9 p.m. Beer pong tourney
Midnight Beer garden and family garden close
8 a.m. Wiffle ball tourney (continues)
8 a.m. Concessions available
10 a.m. Jeep Poker Run sign-up
11:30 a.m. Jeep Poker Run
4 p.m. Kids games and inflatables open
4 p.m. Beer garden and family garden open
4 p.m. Fried chicken and rib dinners
5:30 p.m. Music by Sideline
6 p.m. Cornhole tournament sign-up
7 p.m. Cornhole tournament
7 p.m. Balloon creations
8 p.m. Music by Music Mann (DJ)
9 p.m. Raffle and theme basket drawings
Midnight Beer garden and family garden close

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