ALBANY, Ga. -- If you're among those who appreciate good outdoor eating in a German sort of way, with great live music and maybe some beer, the fourth annual Albany Oktoberfest is coming to the Veterans Park Amphitheater.
Previously a fundraiser for the local chapter of the American Red Cross, this year's event will benefit Albany Crime Stoppers, a group that offers rewards for tipsters to combat local crime.
"The Albany and Americus chapters of Red Cross have recently merged," said Mari Wright, former executive director of the Albany Red Cross, "and one of the changes made was that they no longer wanted local fundraisers. They had no more interest in Oktoberfest, and (the event) was just sitting there."
According to Wright, Crime Stoppers board secretary Judy Randle called earlier this year and asked if she and Lorie Farkas, a former Red Cross board member, would help them put on Oktoberfest for 2012.
"We've seen a lot of success through Crime Stoppers, and that's what caught our attention," Farkas said, "They'll use the money that's raised to pay for information to catch criminals."
Judging from past events, Farkas said she expects upwards of 300 in attendance, including a certain group of Moultrie friends who come every year.
"Bo Henry does authentic German food and imports German beer and wine," Farkas said. "He has the big pretzels and bratwurst. The Cakery provides fresh apple strudel."
In addition to the authentic German meal and music by Relapse, the event will feature a silent auction. Items for the auction have not all been itemized, Farkas said, but are expected to include an outdoor pizza dinner for twelve, a trip to the beach and unspecified artwork.
"This event will go a long way toward keeping Crime Stoppers viable," said Jason Thornhill, chair of the Albany Crime Stoppers chapter.
According to Thornhill, the local chapter has been supported almost entirely by a special annual golf tournament. He said the organization has to pay anonymous individuals $50 or more for vital crime-stopping tips. Thornhill said many who call in tips may have "shady" backgrounds themselves and may even use the money to support a drug habit. While most other Crime Stoppers pay out upon conviction, in Albany payment for tips is made for a valid arrest.
Oktoberfest will be held Oct. 20 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets are $30 at the event or $25 from www.albanycrimestoppers.com, Central Monitoring or any SB&T location.