Roselle winery's festival is vats of fun

 
 
Published: 9/28/2007 12:22 AM

Chris Cronholm remembers when Roselle's Oktoberfest was small grapes.

Groups of people gathered around a bonfire near a small tent behind the Lynfred Winery on Roselle Road. Instead of beer, they drank hot spiced wine.

"If they had a 100 people that was a good turnout," said Cronholm, who has been playing an accordion at the fest since 1989. His father has played accordion at the festival since the mid- or late 1970s. "Now I bet 1,500 to 2,000 people go through there on a Saturday afternoon."

Indeed, the festival of grapes now attracts at least 1,000 people daily. The Lynfred Winery -- which has been hosting this German-style festival annually for more than 25 years -- throws it to celebrate fall. It will take place Saturday and Sunday at the winery, 15 S. Roselle Road.

Because the fest has become so popular and crowded, this may be the last year residents don't have to pay admission.

"It's gotten so large," said Christina Anderson-Heller, the winery's marketing director. "It just keeps growing and growing."

The winery will consider charging a minimal fee next year to keep the crowd under control and to get a better idea of how many people attend, she said.

The festival is peppered with an array of activities that range from grape spitting and stomping contests to barrel races. A live oompah band will perform, and Chris Cronholm and bass player Mike Ciancenelli will play music for sing-alongs.

The winery provides more than 1,000 pounds of grapes for stomping and spitting contests.

This year, winery chefs Joe Hetman and Chris Smith will be serving more than 1,200 pounds of roast pig. They will prepare full pork dinners, barbecue ribs, grilled sweet corn, bratwurst burgers and other munchies.

Other favorites include owner Fred Koehler's homemade chili, fresh grilled sweet corn, taffy apples, apple and cherry strudel and German chocolate cake.

As usual, the winery will release its new Oktoberfest wine. This year, it's a Riesling.

Oktoberfest

Located at the Lynfred Winery, 15 S. Roselle Road, Roselle, the two-day festival features live entertainment, food, beverages, grape stomping and spitting contests, barrel races and a pig roast. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For details, call (630) 529-9463.

SATURDAY

3-4 p.m. Sing-alongs

3:30 p.m. Children's grape spitting contest

4 p.m. Adult barrel races

4-9 p.m. Oompah band

5 p.m. Children's grape stomping contest

5:30 p.m. Children's grape spitting contest

6 p.m. Adult grape stomping contest

6:30 p.m. Adult grape spitting contest

7 p.m. Children's grape stomping contest

7:30 p.m. Adult couple grape stomping contest

SUNDAY

Noon-7 p.m. Festival hours

Noon-3 p.m. Sing-alongs

1 p.m. Children's grape spitting contest

1:30 p.m. Adult barrel races

2 p.m. Children's grape stomping contest

2:30 p.m. Children's grape spitting contest

3 p.m. Adult grape stomping contest

3-7 p.m. Oompah band

4 p.m. Adult grape spitting contest

5 p.m. Children's grape stomping contest

6 p.m. Adult couple grape stomping contest