By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter
Volunteers have allowed Old Town to become what it is today, and are also the reason it remains such a vibrant community. Whether it be the upcoming Taste and Tour of Old Town event where guests can sample food from various restaurants in the Old Town area while touring Old Town property or Oktoberfest where visitors can dance to their favorite polka song, Old Town is known for its festivals. Festivals continue to be the heart and soul of the community. But with only one and half employees working for the Old Town Commercial Association, people dedicated to the growth of Old Town are a necessity to put on these events. Without volunteers, there are no festivals, without any festivals there is no money for the neighborhood, without any money Old Town is back to a red light district.
LANSING-The Old Town Commercial Association met on Thursday, September 27th at Perspective 2, 319 East Grand River Ave., to discuss upcoming Oktoberfest, hosted annually by the OTCA. Oktoberfest will be held October 4th and 6th, at the intersection of East Grand River Ave. and Turner St. in Old Town, Lansing. The main issue discussed during the working meeting was the lack of advertising in East Lansing.
The polka-rock group The Polish Muslims will headline Oktoberfest in Old Town Oct. 8 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.. “They are beyond unique,” said Louise Gradwohl, a communications intern at the Old Town Commercial Association and the festival director. “They are quirky, fun and definitely fit the theme of Oktoberfest.”
The band, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, hails from Hamtramck, Mich., and calls its music fun and energetic, a mixture of music from the ’70s to today. It has also been compared to the stylings of Weird Al Yankovik because it features comedy and parodies. “It’s our first time out in the Lansing area, and we’re really excited about it,” said Polish Muslims lead singer and guitarist Ken Kondrat. “The organizers of Oktoberfest know us well enough to know that we’re a good fit for the festival. Wherever there’s good beer and food, we’re a good fit.”
Lauren Karas, a member of the Oktoberfest planning committee and a student at Michigan State University, suggested the Polish Muslims for Oktoberfest. She said she got the idea from her dad, who has been listening to them for years.