Pumpkins, politics and patriotism filled the Coughlin Community Center and Eby Arena at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. The Republican Central Committee and Women’s Club held their annual Octoberfest event which celebrates the autumn season and gives London residents a chance to meet their elected officials.

“The support from the community was amazing,” said Kathy Henry, co-chair of the Women’s Club and Republican Central Committee. “I think everyone was really, really happy.”

The night kicked off with Matt Reese, of London, performing his spin on traditional German Octoberfest music — complete with an accordion and lederhosen. His performance set the stage for a celebratory evening that included various musical acts and speeches from Ohio political figures and welcomed in more than 250 Madison County residents.

Many of Ohio’s Republican figures, both those already elected and those running for offices, attended the event. Of the four gubernatorial candidates for Ohio, three came to speak at the event, including Secretary of State Jon Husted, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor. Although there were words of political encouragement, the focus of the evening was on community support and praising the Armed Forces.

London Mayor Pat Closser, Madison County Commissioner David Dhume and London Council president Joseph Russell were also among the variety of local figures and residents.

The committee also held a silent auction which consisted of items such as Columbus Blue Jackets tickets and Ohio State and Cincinnati Bengals tickets. None other than Madison County’s senator Bob Hackett won the Cleveland Cavaliers tickets for the evening.

“We always get positive feedback from our guests,” Henry said. “They say they always love coming out to Madison County and wish other counties would do something similar.” She said that the event has gotten so popular that rather than seeking candidates out to speak, candidates are calling them to see if they can be involved.

“It takes 12 months to plan the event,” she added. “We’re already thinking about next year’s event. People seemed to love the addition of the traditional Octoberfest music and we’ll look into asking Matt Rees back.”

Much of the evening’s festivities were held in the Eby Arena, kids were welcomed to the Coughlin Community Center for fall activities and crafts. The event was free to the public.

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Matt Rees of London performing at the opening of the Republican Central Committee and Women’s Club’s annual Octoberfest event at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. Rees wore traditional German lederhosen and performed a variety of festive songs in German to kick off the event.
https://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/10/web1_Rees.jpgMatt Rees of London performing at the opening of the Republican Central Committee and Women’s Club’s annual Octoberfest event at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. Rees wore traditional German lederhosen and performed a variety of festive songs in German to kick off the event. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

Madison County residents enjoy brats and sauerkraut for Octoberfest at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. The event was put on by the Republican Central Committee and Women’s Club.
https://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/10/web1_Food.jpgMadison County residents enjoy brats and sauerkraut for Octoberfest at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. The event was put on by the Republican Central Committee and Women’s Club. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

At left, Luke and Ruth Peart sing the national anthem at Octoberfest at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. At right, Republican Committee Chair Nick Adkins.
https://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/10/web1_SSB.jpgAt left, Luke and Ruth Peart sing the national anthem at Octoberfest at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Thursday. At right, Republican Committee Chair Nick Adkins. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

By Michael Williamson

mwilliamson@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.