While at a party one year someone asked the whole group, “what’s your favorite holiday to celebrate?” There were many obvious answers like Christmas and Left Handers Day (August 13th!), but Kyle and I unanimously agreed that all things Fall was our thing. The changing weather, the food, flannels, dressing up for Halloween, and being outside enjoying weather after the awful hot summers and before the chilly winters come. We decided right then and there… that we would have a fall festival at our house that year, little did we know it would turn into an annual thing, and that it would last ten whole years.
The first Pepptoberfest was an intimate one… probably with 30-40 people who came and went thru the day to enjoy some food and fun. We had everyone bring a dish or beverage to share, bought 50 HEAVY glass mugs from the dollar store and a glass boot (Beerfest anyone?) that we used for a couple of years but soon donated them for the greater good of our aging muscles. We threw up some pop up tents, enlisted pit master, Jake, to make some delicious pit beef and ham, and hung outside until dark playing yard games and cozying up by the fire. There were a couple of small kids that came and I think we had some paper bags and stickers for them to decorate while they visited…. my oh my how it all quickly evolved.
More people, more activities, more fun was added year after year. We had a couple of Pepptoberfest before starting our family and by year five we started renting bounce houses for the kids (the greatest in-house babysitter) and designed tshirts for our fellow comrades. The daytime was meant for family fun and eating, the nighttime turned into an adult playground of drinking games and dancing.
We started to extend the weekend by having some close friends and out of town guests help carve pumpkins and pre-game with chili and soup on Friday before Pepptoberfest. Kyle always knocked it out of the park with his pumpkin creations and it usually mirrored the T-shirt design for that year. The daytime party began to grow into a whole weekend of fun, filling our house and floor space with air mattresses and fart jokes. I still can’t believe we got to be a part of it all.
We learned many things thru the years including the third weekend of October was our best bet for the most perfect weather, a port-0-potty was a must have, we always bought too much beer, your cheapest pumpkins can be found at Aldi’s ($2.69!) and that we are never too old to play some flip cup.
Some highlights over the years would include losing power for a couple of hours during our party (it was an 80 degree day!) and needing to use our generator to power the essentials….the bounce house and sun room outlets for food and air conditioning. An Americorps group that we didn’t know but invited on a whim IKEA meeting, and their infamous bathroom fiasco. Our first year after we moved and the hot air balloons that made their way over our party. One of our parties exceeding 175 people. A surprise vow renewal for Kyle and I to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Adding our four kids one by one to enjoy the fun and party prep. Amazing face painters. A band under our Harry Potter tree with lights and an ending fireworks show to end the kid friendly part of the night. The relays… oh the drinking relays are my absolute FAVORITE. Just this last year we had a relay of (drink, flip, run, enter bounce house exit down slide, tag) that will go down in infamy.
It might be called Pepptoberfest but there are SO many people who have made all these years possible. People have donated their time, money, resources, and talents to make all of this possible. Every year I was grateful for the beautiful weather, and how everything would just some how… fall into place.
This was our 10th and final year…. and it’s a bittersweet time. Party prep begins weeks and months before and are filled with nonstop organizing, project finishing, cleaning, and more. We are excited to focus more on our kids during this time instead of throwing on a movie and trying to get as much done before the end of Moana. We want to go back to sewing and creating our own Halloween costumes, and save money to go to Disney. I want to forget the post Pepptoberfest clean up like one does the surges of childbirth. So it’s time to put Pepptoberfest on hold for a couple of years. We sure are going to miss it. In recent years, we seemed to get into this amazing rhythm with those returning year after year…. everyone knowing what to do, how to do it, where to put tents, and the quiet expectation of how the weekend would go. We all worked as a team and in the process grew relationships with those we might of never come in contact with, and it’s those moments that I crave and will surely miss. We had people fly in from all over the country year after year, we have had at times 20 or more people who we had no idea who they were but were welcomed with open arms. I will miss those moments at each Pepptoberfest where Kyle and I find each other and snagging a picture with just the two of us. We’d sit watching that rhythm and dance of the day consumed with immense love and appreciation for the beautiful weather, our hardworking team, and the space to make all of this happen. This chapter might be closed for now, but I am hopeful it will return in a couple of years so that I might reign as flip cup relay champion once more.
- *Please feel free to check out #Pepptoberfest on instagram for more amazing photos and videos!