Hocktoberfest Entertains Students And Community (PHOTOS)

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"So these two guys used ropes and climbed like 80 feet into the air and after that they tried to knock each other off a log into the water."

That description was overheard Saturday at Hocktoberfest on the campus of Hocking College as a student told his mother what she missed at the Stihl Timber Works Lumberjack Show.

Hocktoberfest debuted last year as Rocky Brands and Hocking College teamed up to create a new fall festival that would cater to students and alumni as sort of a homecoming as well as community members and beyond.

In the event's second iteration, organizers tried to turn up the notch on the entertainment with the aforementioned Stihl show, a chainsaw wielding woodcarver, animals from the Columbus Zoo, COSI kiosks and Rocky sponsored PRS World Finalist bull rider Shane Rickly as just some of the attractions.

Sue Aldrich, a first-year student studying interactive multimedia, was visited on campus her parents. Her father Mike said they were down from Vermillion just to "spend time with her" and that Sue was their first child to strike out from home to attend college.

The trio were waiting to watch the lumberjack show and had plans to ride the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway on Sunday and to check out the pioneer buildings before leaving.

Kweisa Collins, another first-year student studying social services corrections and criminal justice, was visited by family from New Philadelphia including Ramon and Brenda Gonzalez and Darius Furbay.

"I think it's pretty cool," Brenda Gonzalez said of Hocktoberfest. "We went inside the general store, they went inside the leather shop. Darius did the rock climbing wall too. He made it all the way to the top."

While little Darius wanted to see the horses and wagon ride, the rest of the family also wanted to take a turn at painting a pumpkin. 

"It's a really good event. I appreciate them putting it on," Gonzalez added.

Over near the stage, taking in some of the music acts, Evan Webb, of Athens, and Kelly Riley, of Chauncey, said they were attending their first Hocktoberfest. Riley said she was interested in seeing what the event had to offer while Webb said, "There's not a lot of events throughout the course of the fall, this seemed like something that was interesting."

They said Hocktoberfest was recommended to them by some friends in Nelsonville and that they were headed to check out the bull riding and wagon ride next.

"Hocktoberfest is meant to be a really great family festival. We wanted it to be free so that everybody could come to it. We wanted it to be a great community event," said Kristin Dille, Rocky Brands' marketing manager.

"Nelsonville, with the bypass and everything, has had somewhat of a struggle, so we wanted to have some sort of festival that would bring everybody back to together and bring people back into Nelsonville," she added.

Dille said the event allows Hocking College to showcase its majors and programs while also allowing Rocky Brands to show all of its various brands.

"Rocky has a such a strong focus on tying into the community, this was a great way to partner with Hocking College and put on a festival," said Dille.

Dille pointed out that the Stihl lumberjack show (that did feature two guys climbing into the sky using a rope on a tall pole and then a rolling log competition, by the way) was a highlight of the event as was the woodcarver, wagon rides and appearance by Rickly.

As for the future of the event, Dille said, "We like the community feel, we want to make sure it stays something that is close to the community but we also want to broaden our horizons. We want people to come here and have a great time."

Photos by Yi-Ke Peng and Bryan Gibson