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BensonFAST, Oktoberfest have huge turnouts during festive Saturday

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, October 3, 2016

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Jim Benson and GCM Executive Director Cindy Simpler toast the record-setting crowd at BensonFAST.
 

Jim Fair

Jim Benson and GCM Executive Director Cindy Simpler toast the record-setting crowd at BensonFAST.

 



Enlarge photo

This is what Nashville country singer John Anderson and his band saw while performing Saturday at BensonFAST.
 
 

Jim Fair

This is what Nashville country singer John Anderson and his band saw while performing Saturday at BensonFAST.

 

 



Enlarge photo

Part of the fun of Oktoberfest is dressing the part.
 

Jim Fair

Part of the fun of Oktoberfest is dressing the part.

 



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The alpine horn makes its appearance at Oktoberfest.
 

Shane Richardson

The alpine horn makes its appearance at Oktoberfest.

 



• BensonFAST gallery

• Oktoberfest gallery

Jim Benson said he had three wishes for his 80th birthday.

“I wanted cars, country music and the biggest event ever for Greer Community Ministries,” Benson said at the BensonFAST Saturday at Greer First Baptist Church.

Benson got his wish and it even helped Oktoberfest, celebrated downtown, have arguably its biggest turnout for the annual celebration.

“We told Greg Jones at Wood Mortuary in advance it may not be a good time for a funeral with all the noise going on,” Cindy Simpler, Executive Director of GCM, said with a laugh.

John Anderson, country music star from Nashville, headlined the BensonFAST entertainment with an overflow and enthusiastic crowd.

GCM began the day with $60,000 in sponsorships from Greer businesses and the community.

“Greer First Baptist every year gives us their facilities,” Simpler said. “That is huge when you don’t have to expense that side.”

The festival began with a 5k run, held a classic car show and offered free flu shot courtesy of Greer Memorial Hospital.

Ellen Robertson, Director of Meals on Wheels at GCM, had to adjust to the huge crowd eating lunch. “I had to go back for another 150 hotdogs and make seven five-gallon buckets of tea,” she said. Her husband, Bob, spent the day grilling the hotdogs.

Where BensonFAST left off, downtown’s Oktoberfest picked up. The largest crowd downtown was the latter part of the afternoon. Groups of friends and families walked from the nearby GFB to downtown to helped swell the attendance.

 

 

 

 

 

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