OcTROYberfest set for Thursday

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What started out as an opportunity for international students to explore downtown has turned into a joint venture for the community and college students, alike.

OcTROYberfest will be held on the square in downtown Troy – complete with music, shopping, prizes and food. The event is from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday.

“The main focus is to get students at the university to see that we have a vibrant downtown, full of things to offer them,” said Shelia Jackson, Troy’s director of public relations and tourism. “But this is open to the community and we hope everyone who came out to the homecoming concert last Saturday will join us again Thursday.”

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Merchants on the square will be open for business and festival goers will have the opportunity to register for door prizes. There’s even a free concert by Fly By Radio, a band known for 70s and 80s tunes.

“We are trying to grow that relationship between the community and the university, so we are supporting each other,” said Chris Hager, coordinator of student involvement at Troy University. “In the end, the goal for us is to really expose students to what downtown and Troy have to offer, and in turn, boost the economy by introducing them to new places to eat and shop.”

While the focus is on bringing college students downtown, the community is certainly invited. However, Hager said the event will be geared more toward young adults and professionals than families.

“It would be a good date night where people can listen to music, explore and eat,” Hager said. “The music is free. The only thing you have to pay for is food.”

And there will be lots of food, according to planners. Besides the usual downtown restaurants that will be open for business, places elsewhere in the city have also been invited to set up stands on the square so guests can sample their items.

“This is the first OcTROYberfest celebration for us,” Hager said. “But we are really hoping the event will grow into something we do each year.”