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Contributed photo / Cambridge Square in Ooltewah is set to transform into a Bavarian-themed playground for Ooltewah Oktoberfest.

Break out your lederhosen. Oktoberfest in Ooltewah is returning to Cambridge Square Saturday, Oct. 19 from noon to 5 p.m., followed by an after-party from 6-9.

The fifth annual celebration features food, beer, shopping, live music and the Lamar Johnson barbecue competition.

While competitors in the past have been professional barbecue teams and chefs, this year's competition will be a little different, said event planner Amanda Perez. The owner of local marketing company InspireMi, she has organized the event since its first year.

"It's open to all levels of people who love cooking," she said of the 2019 barbecue competition, in which 12 teams are participating. Registration is now closed.

This year's competition categories have been expanded beyond just barbecue, with competitors vying for awards for blue plate special (meat and three sides), and steak and pork ribs. Winners are determined by professional judges, and first- through third-place winners will receive a cash award from event sponsor Toyota of Cleveland.

Event attendees will have the opportunity to purchase food from competitors, another change from previous years, said Perez.

The festival's live entertainment kicks off with a polka band. Other performers include the Ooltewah Red Hots and Ooltewah Middle School cheerleaders. The after-party also features a live band, and beer will be for sale at Cambridge brewery Heaven and Ale.

Attendees can also shop more than 40 vendors at the free, all-day event, and will find out who's been elected Oktoberfest mayor.

Applications from local businesses and restaurants that want to exhibit during the event will be accepted until the date of, said Perez. For more information, visit inspiremiagency.com or call 883-5633.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com.

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