Ernte Fest, one of the biggest annual events in Lawrence County, will bring thousands of visitors to the town of Freistatt on Friday and Saturday for two evenings of fun and entertainment.
Literally meaning "harvest fest," Ernte Fest is an annual celebration hosted by the Freistatt Lions Club on the north end of the village. Funds raised support a wide range of charitable services and scholarships. Lions from both the Monett and Pierce City clubs will participate in helping to run the games and activities both nights.
A key part of the traditional German event is the food. The club will again serve a traditional German dinner of bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad, green beans, bread and drinks from the main building. Serving begins at 4:30 p.m. The dinner costs $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Other sandwiches, snacks and dinner items will be available from the snack shack.
Freefall Express, one of the two skydiving schools operating out of the Mt. Vernon Airport, will provide a demonstration of parachuting and para-gliding skills. Precision landings are planned for 7:30 p.m. on both nights, weather permitting.
Live entertainment is planned through the evening from two stages on the grounds. From the main stage by the dancing floor, the Johnnie Zibert German Band, from Tulsa, Okla., will play from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Sauerkrauts, from San Antonio, Texas, will play from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight. The German bands will play both nights.
From the second stage at the rear of the grounds, the Liz Moriondo Band will play country music on Friday. Southern Green will play country and rock music on Saturday. Bands will play from the second stage from 8 p.m. to midnight both evenings.
Rides, games and bingo will be offered for children on the main lawn of the festival grounds. Traditional games will include the pony-driven merry-go-round.
The bands will play inside the "bier garten." Beer will be sold inside the garten by token only. Admission will be restricted to adults 21 and older. Children 13 and under must be accompanied by parents. The garten will open at 4:30 p.m. both nights.
Private security and Freistatt law enforcement will be on hand both nights to secure a safe environment.
Parking on the grounds will cost $3 per vehicle. Proceeds will go to various Lions Club charitable projects.
The Lions will allow overnight campers at the far end of the parking field. No facilities or hook-ups are available. Advance arrangements are required. For more information, call Bob Dieckhoff at 417-466-0530.