After a 20-year absence, the Bavarian Fun Fest returns to downtown Sharon, Pa.
The event, once ranked as the state's number one festival, is being brought back to commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Old Express Limited, predecessor to the original Quaker Steak & Lube.
The ''old world''-style festival celebrates the traditions of Bavaria and Central Europe, from cabbage and strudel to polka bands and ethnic dancers.
Festmesiter will be Tunch Ilkin, the former All-Pro offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a 14-year football career, Ilkin now works as a broadcaster with ESPN Sports Radio Pittsburgh. He will be on the grounds from 5 to 7 p.m. today and lead the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m., which will include a presentation of colors by a local color guard, singing of ''The National Anthem,'' introductions of former Festmeisters and the official tapping of the keg.
Live entertainment will be featured at two outdoor stages and at Tully's, and the lineup will mix ethnic / polka acts like Hank Haller, Del Sinchak, Jack & Dick Tady, The Mahoning Valley Button Box and Fred Zwich with local and national rock acts.
Performing on the main stage at 9 p.m. Friday will be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Lovin' Spoonful. Its '60s hits include ''Do You Believe in Magic,'' ''Daydream,'' ''Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?,'' ''Summer in the City'' and ''Nashville Cats.''
On the main stage at 10:30 p.m. Sunday will be Commander Cody. whose music blends rock, R&B, jazz, bop, country, western swing and rockabilly influences. He is best known for his song ''Hot Rod Lincoln.''
Local bands will include Hern Brothers, Graphic Pink, BonJourney and Grant Street Exit. More than 800 performers are scheduled to appear over the four days.
Food will be sold at dozens of stands. Fest goers can choose to feast on zesty German wurst, open pit beef and chicken barbeque, Munich-style pretzels, flaky hot Bavarian strudel, giant funnel cakes and ice cold beer. Local community organizations will be featuring hand- made pierogi, stuffed cabbage and haluski.
The Bavarian Fun Fest opens at 2 p.m. today and Friday and noon on Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of Quaker Steak & Lube, 101 Chestnut St., Sharon, Pa. Entertainment is scheduled until midnight today, 1 a.m. Friday and Sunday and 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children.