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OrenKoFest is back, along with its test of beer-stein arm strength and other fun harvest festival activities.

COURTESY PHOTO: MARY LOFTIN  - Masskrugstemmen, or Bavarian beer stein holding contest, returns to OrenKoFest at Jerry Willey Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 5. OrenKoFest, the popular one-day Hillsboro Octoberfest, returns to the Orenco neighborhood this weekend, kickstarting the area's fall celebrations.

Celebrating its fifth year at Jerry Willey Plaza at Orenco Station, 943 N.E. Orenco Station Loop, from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, the harvest festival is an ode to the city's agricultural roots.

Its "Masskrugstemmen," or Bavarian beer stein holding contest, is a crowd favorite, said Alex Richardson, a special events coordinator with the city of Hillsboro.

"People just love it," she said. "It's fun. Usually the top winners can hold it for about three to five minutes. We offer prizes, and, of course, they have bragging rights for the next year."

For $15, participants over 21 can register to be a part of the competition, which has these simple rules: Each person must hold one liter of beer in the stein at arm's length for as long as possible, and beer spillage or arm movement means disqualification.

COURTESY PHOTO: MARY LOFTIN  - OrenKoFest is celebrating its fifth year in Hillsboro at Jerry Willey Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 5. The world record stands at 25 minutes and 30 seconds. To register, Visitors must register at the information booth from noon until 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.

Last year, OrenKoFest drew over 7,000 people, Richardson said.

"This is the biggest one-day event of the year for us," she said. "This was designed to celebrate the history of the Orenco neighborhood. This place was the site of the Oregon Nursery Co., and there is this agricultural past with a lot of people working there and living nearby. We thought it would be neat to have an event to be an homage to that."

Beyond the signature beer competition, the festival offers live music, including a yodeler, food for purchase, arts and crafts, and children's activities.

In the future, the city of Hillsboro would like to continue to grow the event to honor the heritage of the area, Richardson said.

"We want to have the influence of the people who were on this land and who settled the land," she said. "This way, both the Native people and German settlers who lived here are a part of the conversation, making this a larger cultural event about people who were here years ago."

For more information about the free festival, visit orenkofest.com.


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