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By Madina Toure

The fifth annual Oktoberfest, a fund-raiser for the Poppenhusen Institute, is on the calendar in mid-October.

The beer festival, which will take place at the institute at 114-04 14th Road Oct. 10 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., will feature German singers and dancers, historic characters and presentations, tours of the institute, tai chi and ballroom dancing demonstrations and the Spirit Sky Healing Drum Circle.

Susan Brustmann, the executive director, said the institute lost state funding in 2008 and started Oktoberfest because the beer gardens were a big part of College Point’s history.

“People really enjoyed it,” Brustmann said. “Not only did people come here and listen to music, drink some good German beer, have some great entertainment, they also got to meet up with friends they might not have seen in a long time.”

Barbara Aliprantis, an award-winning storyteller, will be speaking about the experience of the first free kindergarten, which occurred at the institute.

The Alley Pond Environmental Center will conduct an educational program featuring mammals, including a snake.

There will also be tournaments and games, clown performances, face painting, henna tattoos, mini chair massages, a pumpkin patch, a farm stand and raffles. Museum souvenir items and crafts will be sold.

Refreshments include German American food, such as apple strudel and black forest cake, along with beer, wine and soft drinks.

Admission is $15 before the event and $18 at the gate. A door prize ticket is included in each admission. The first prize is an 1876 reproduction map of College Point. The second prize is a copy of “Pictures from Poppenhusen Institute,” an album of photographs from the institute’s collection.

In April, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) gave the institute a $100,000 grant from the state budget. But Brustmann said the institute continues to live week to week and that the state has not yet sent them the paperwork for the grant, noting that it is not Avella’s fault and that he has been trying to stay on top of it.

The institute may not see the money for another six to nine months, she said.

The institute wants to see if it can stretch the funds over two years, Brustmann said.

“We don’t want the community to think that we still don’t need funding,” she said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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