By Suzanna Ritz Malliett
For the past 11 years, on the first Saturday in October, Historic Körner’s Folly has hosted the Kernersville Oktoberfest, a festive celebration of the people and businesses that make our town a great place to live and work. Featuring local food and beverages, this event is held on the lush grounds of the ca.1880 historic house, in the spirit of a German Oktoberfest.
The idea for the event arose out of the Körner family’s German heritage, hailing as they did from the small town of Furtwangen in the Black Forest region of Baden-Württemberg. Oktoberfest in Germany is a true Volksfest – an outdoor “people’s festival” with tents serving specially-crafted Festbier and snacks.
The first Oktoberfest celebration was held in Munich to mark the marriage of King Leopold and Princess Therese on October 12th of 1810. Since then, the festival has spread to cities and towns all over the world. Today, the Munich Oktoberfest draws over 6 million attendees who consume on average 1.7 million gallons of beer.
On a smaller scale, the Kernersville Oktoberfest gathers the best local brews and bites at Körner’s Folly. Folks are invited to join the fun this year on Saturday, October 1st from 3:00 – 6:00 pm for the 12th annual event. Tickets include a Körner’s Folly tasting glass to fill with delicious drinks, along with plenty of local fare, plus a self-guided tour of the whimsical 22-room historic house museum designed by Jule Körner. With the exception of 2020, each year has brought over 500 attendees to the Kernersville Oktoberfest. Tickets are highly sought-after, and typically sell out quickly.
For Kernersville Oktoberfest 2022, local craft breweries including Gypsy Road Brewing, Hoots Beer Company, and Kernersville Brewing Company will pour samples of their finest seasonal beers, including Märzens, Festbiers, and lagers. Town watering holes The Brewer’s Kettle and Folly’s Draft & Snack will bring popular selections from their top-tier drafts. Seasonal bottled beers, including special pumpkin brews from distributor RH Barringer, will round out the ale-based offerings. For those who prefer the grape, Wilkesboro-based Stardust Cellars will serve samples of North Carolina wines along with their flagship Ancestral Mead made from local honey.
To aid in the enjoyment of these fine beverages, food tastings from local eateries are also included with the ticket price. Musten & Crutchfield Food Market will fire up the grill, cooking traditional bratwursts with all the fixin’s and serving up their famous pimento cheese with soft pretzel bread. Farm-to-table restaurant The Prescott will return with meatballs and German potato salad, and Kernersville foodie favorites, J. Pepper’s and Carolina Kitchen & Pantry are working on seasonal menus to debut at this year’s event. C&H Cafeteria will return to the Oktoberfest this year with their signature sweet dish, a warm pumpkin bread pudding with apple-bourbon glaze, and downtown dessertery, Cake & All Things Yummy will provide cupcakes in their mouth-watering pumpkin spice, Black Forest, and white chocolate almondine flavors.
In collaboration with these incredible food and beverage sponsors, the Kernersville Oktoberfest remains not only a showcase of the finest local libations and culinary delights, but a fantastic fundraiser for the Körner’s Folly Foundation. Corporate sponsorships also help provide much-needed financial support for the ongoing work of the organization. Special thanks are in order to this year’s presenting sponsors: Apple Payne Law, Backyard Leisure, Carmine’s Import Service, and Kernersville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
Kernersville is a town known for its tight-knit community and incredible care for our own people and resources. In fact, Körner’s Folly itself would not be in existence today without such generosity. In 1970, Körner’s Folly was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of concerned citizens and family descendants. This group listed the home on the National Register of Historic Places and set about raising funds to make Körner’s Folly safe for public use. Today, these efforts are continued by the Körner’s Folly Foundation staff and its dedicated donors and volunteers.
All proceeds from the Kernersville Oktoberfest, the organization’s annual fundraiser, are used for the operation of historic Körner’s Folly and the restoration of our distinctive historical landmark. With the backing of these sponsors and ticketholders alike, many of whom return to the event annually, Körner’s Folly remains open year-round for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Tickets to the 12th Annual Kernersville Oktoberfest are $40 per person and are available online at KornersFolly.org. This year’s Oktoberfest t-shirts may be pre-ordered on the website and will be available for pickup in time to wear to the event. Each Oktoberfest ticket admits one person (21+ only) into the event, which includes food and beverage tasting, souvenir glass, and a self-guided tour of historic Körner’s Folly.