The first member of the 2016 Oktoberfest royal family was announced Sunday afternoon.
18-year-old Gunner Skroch of West Salem was named 2016 Special Fester at the Special Fester Ball at All Star Lanes Banquet Hall in front of a big crowd.
Skroch was welcomed by members of the 2015 Oktoberfest royal family, including Fest Master Chuck Roth.
Skroch is on the autism spectrum and helped bring awareness to the disorder by placing blue lights along a portion of Highway 16 last spring as his senior project.
Ellie Hundt, Director and Founder of the Special Fester Ball, said the opportunity is one that is not soon forgotten by Special Festers.
"I have been told by of the special festers that it is a life changing experience," she said. "It brings them out of their shell, they get to meet people they wouldn't ordinarily come into contact with, so it's a good experience."
This year, Oktoberfest begins September 29 and runs through October 2.