By Jeff PottsEleven months out of the year Oshkosh is a wonderful place to visit. But each October Event City becomes a scary place, not recommended for the faint of heart. But don’t worry – it’s by design and promises to once again be a lot of fun.
Our month-long celebration of all things spooky starts at the “spirited” Grand Opera House in downtown where the Oshkosh Community Players present “Dracula.” Starring an all-local cast, performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on October 2, 4, 9, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. on October 5. Admission is $18 and $20.
The Grand has also revamped their annual spirit tours – character actors leading a tour of the 1883 Victorian theater and telling authentic ghost stories – renaming it “Tunnel 24: The Speakeasy.” But you’ve only got one opportunity to attend – Friday, October 31 at 7 or 7:30 p.m. Space is extremely limited so reserve your spot today.
Across town the Oshkosh Public Museum is helping fill the real ghost story void by rolling out two “haunted” experiences. “Night Whispers” will take groups of 15 brave souls on a tour of the Sawyer mansion where they’ll meet a tall cloaked phantom, a murdered prostitute and a victim of the Beckwith Hotel fire – among the many ghosts believed to frequent modern day Oshkosh. Night Whispers tours take pace each Saturday in October at 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 10 to 17 (not suitable for younger children), and $7 for museum members.
Pre-registration is highly recommended.
The Public Museum will also welcome in members of the Fox Cities Paranormal Team and psychic medium Scotty Rorek for two different panel discussions. “Ghostly Experiences” will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 and at 6:30 p.m. in Wednesday, Oct. 29. The panels will discuss some of their interactions with spirits and museum staff will tell a few stories of their own. The program is included with regular admission rates.
The Time Community Theater in downtown Oshkosh gets in on the action with what they arguably do the best – screen great movies.
It starts with the annual Oshkosh Horror Film Festival on October 4 and 5. This is the fifth annual event which showcases the talents of independent film makers in the horror and suspense genres. Admission is $5 for a day pass or $7 for a weekend pass. Attendees may come and go at their leisure. Because of the subject matter you must be at least 18-years-old to attend.
Saturday’s movies begin at 11:30 a.m. with a block of short films, followed the weekend’s first full-length feature, “The Device” at 1:20 p.m. Another block of shorts starts at 3:20 p.m. followed by a short dinner break and eight more shorts beginning at 6 p.m. The Saturday featured film screening will be “The Perfect Husband” at 7:45 p.m.
The Sunday session starts at 11:30 am with a block of seven short films. The first feature film screened will be “Sodium Party” at 1:05 p.m. followed by a second block of short films starting at 2:45 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. the final feature film “Dys-” will be showcased.
For a complete schedule of films, including trailers, visit www.OshksohHorror.com.
The Time will also roll out a couple great classics as part of their regular Friday Fright Night series: “Phantom From 10,000 Leagues” on Oct. 3 and “Attack of the Eye Creatures” on Oct. 17 If that wasn’t enough they’ll showcase “The Warriors” on Oct. 10 and “The Dark Crystal” on Oct. 24. All four start at 8 p.m. and are free of charge.
Finally, as part of their Saturdays @ 7 series, the Time will screen “Young Frankenstein” on Oct. 11 and “Shaun of the Dead” on Oct 25. These movies start at 7 p.m. and have a $3 admission charge.
The final Halloween-themed event will actually sneak into November as the third annual Casks & Caskets, a homebrew event for charity to benefit the Oshkosh Hunger Task Force, is held on Saturday Nov. 1 at the Oshkosh Convention Center. From 7 to 10 p.m. you’ll be able to sample a variety of homebrewed beer, wine, mead and ciders. Attendees receive a commemorative glass and can participate in home brewing educational activities as well as enjoy a silent auction, door prizes and a costume contest. Sly Joe and the Smooth Operators will provide music throughout the evening. Tickets, $30 each, are available in Oshkosh at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel, Dublin’s Irish Pub, Oblio’s Lounge, and O’Marro’s Public House. At the door, tickets will cost $40 each. Special designated driver discounted ticket are also available. For complete details, visit www.CasksAndCaskets.org.
The Oshkosh Chili Cook Off returns to Opera House Square in downtown on Saturday, Oct. 25. Up to 40 teams will compete this year in a variety of categories. Get downtown early to enjoy the last day of the Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market and the smells of the amateur chefs cooking up their (hopefully) award-winning recipes. Public tasting starts at 11 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children up to age 12. All proceeds benefit the Day-By-Day Warming Shelter.
And last but not least October wouldn’t be the same in Oshkosh without an official Oktoberfest celebration. The corner of 6th Avenue and Oregon Street (Dockside Tavern) will be transformed into an authentic German Bier Hall on Saturday, Oct. 4 starting with the Oktoberfest 2K Bier Run and Costume Contest (no minors allowed) at 11 a.m. The fun really beings to heat up at 2 p.m. with the official Tapping of the Keg ceremony followed by Dachshund races at 3 p.m.
Throughout the day you can participate in the Oktoberfest Olympics (beer stein holding, stein relay races, frankfurter eating contest and more) and enjoy live music from Tuba Dan, Blaskapelle Milwaukee and Copper Box. Admission is free. All proceeds will benefit Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin and the Oshkosh Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. For a complete schedule of events, go to www.VisitOshkosh.com.