Halloween fans should get their costumes ready because Carpentersville hosts the sixth annual Oktoberfest Sunday, Oct. 20, at Carpenter Park on Carpenter Boulevard. One of the highlights of Oktoberfest is the Chicago Cyclocross Cup bicycle race series. Races begin at 8:45 a.m. and the last race starts at 3:30 p.m.
Food vendors will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the children's area and activities will be open 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
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The festival began with only the cyclocross races. It was later expanded to include children's inflatable amusements, a petting zoo, food vendors, live music, a beer garden and other activities. The only fee is $2 for a wristband to get into the beer garden, which opens at 11 a.m.
"The cyclocross bike races are the main event," said Joe Wade, village liaison/manager for festival operations.
Cyclocross started in Europe as a way for road cyclists to stay in shape during the off-season. The courses generally offer a mix of terrain including grass, pavement, hills and dirt, plus barricades.
"Carpenter Park offers just enough room to create a long enough course that allows spectators to view the course from only a few vantage points, enough natural variations to make it challenging with a small creek crossing, little hills, and a farm field next door to add a dirt roller section," said Jeff Provisor, owner of Main Street Bicycles, a co-sponsor of the races.
The Chicago Cyclocross Cup, or CCC, is a series of races with more than 600 participants expected. Main Street Bicycles and North Branch Cycling have hosted the races since 2005, and this will mark the fifth race of the 2013 series. The event draws people from the Chicago area and several Midwestern states.
The series consists of 13 total races in and around the Chicago area. In order to win, a rider must have completed the most laps in the time allotted. There are 12 categories in which racers can participate. Riders can gain points by placing in the top 30. The rider with the most points at the end of the 13 races is crowned series champion.
"The goal of the fest is to bring people out to Carpenter Park to enjoy a fall day either participating or watching championship bicycle races, while also offering interests for other family members," Wade said.
Oktoberfest is funded through donations by area businesses and the booth fees of participating exhibitors and vendors.
"I promise that the races are the best thing on dirt," Wade said.