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      Oktoberfest's 40th year well underway in Ottumwa

      The 40th annual Oktoberfest celebration is well underway in Ottumwa. Rain couldn't keep the visitors away Thursday morning and afternoon as people lined up for lunch beginning at 11 am.

      Thursday night is wristband night at the carnival, where kids can ride all the rides for one price. There will be bands playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7 pm, including Burning Sensation from Ames on Friday and local favorite Says Who on Saturday. Before each band, there is also an ompah group performing traditional German music.

      There have been some new additions to the festival this year, including offering hot dogs at the food tent, but for 40 years, Oktoberfest has always been all about the community.

      "You see people come back, usually we have a class reunion or two that's going on that weekend, people come back just because they know there will be a lot of friends returning they might not see another time of the year," said Jack Guiter, Chairman of the Oktoberfest Committee. "So I do enjoy getting to see the people that come in and visit, the ones that maybe you don't see very often."

      Of course, the big event of Oktoberfest is the parades. The kiddie parade kicks off at 6 pm Friday night and goes down East Main Street. The main parade starts at 10 am Saturday, followed by band awards and karaoke at the tent on Market Street.