A newsmaker you should know: Canonsburg official Steffey fills shoes as Oktoberfest coordinator


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Canonsburg is well-known for its Fourth of July Parade -- the second largest parade in the state behind only Philadelphia. But the popular Fourth fest is getting some strong competition from the town's Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest, now in the planning stages.

The 14th annual Oktoberfest will be held Sept. 14-16, and event coordinator Nadeen Steffey said some 60,000 are expected to attend.

"It has grown tremendously since it began," she said.

Ms. Steffey is the event coordinator for the Oktoberfest and Main Street manager for the borough. It is her role to help revitalize the downtown, which includes promoting local businesses, helping with beautification and special events such as the Oktoberfest -- a nod to the area's German roots modeled after the signature event held in Munich.

And Canonsburg knows about promoting itself: The 9,000-person borough in Washington County bills itself as "America's Small Town Music Capital" because it is the birthplace of music legends Bobby Vinton, Perry Como and the Four Coins.

Ms. Steffey was hired for the $37,000-a-year post in November 2007. But this is the first year that she has served as coordinator for Oktoberfest -- although she has assisted in previous ones.

Oktoberfest was first organized by Terry Hazlett, now the borough manager. Then "the Chamber of Commerce developed it to bring more business and attention to Canonsburg,'' Ms. Steffey said.

"It is really a community celebration of fellowship and the German heritage of the area.''

The idea was successful and has expanded to need an additional stage for entertainment.

"We have the 'Beer Garden Stage' where bands with traditional German music play, and then we have the 'Street Stage' with more of the top 40 sounds," Ms. Steffey explained.

There are also food and German product vendors -- and, of course, beer. The festival committee is accepting applications for its "Name That Brew II Contest."

"It's just a fun thing we do; we started it last year, and it was a lot of fun," she said.

As the final weeks approach for the event, Ms. Steffey said she has a "small army" of volunteers who help with all the tasks necessary to pull off the event including lining up vendors, organizing booths and the stages, promotion, and other activities.

Oktoberfest attracts folks from all over Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Profits from the event support the work of Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce. For more, visit: www.canonsburgboro.com.

neigh_south - neigh_washington

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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