New Brunswick celebrates Oktoberfest with beer, live music and traditional German fare
A piece of the most renowned beer festival in the world came to New Brunswick this Saturday.
Originally a German festival, Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest, a word that refers to a traveling funfair. Famously held in Munich, Germany, it usually lasts from late September to the first weekend in October.
More than 6 million people from around the world attend the event every year and many cities, including New Brunswick, model their celebrations after the original Munich event.
Of course, large quantities of Oktoberfest beer are consumed during the festival. In 2013 during Munich’s 180th Oktoberfest, 6.4 million festival-goers drank 7.7 million liters of beer. Oktoberfest beers are dark-colored lagers brewed and slowly fermented throughout the summer months to allow rich malt flavors to develop.
John Noonan, School of Arts and Sciences senior, said that he was very excited for New Brunswick's Oktoberfest.
“When fall comes around my father and I drink beer out of pumpkins. But in all seriousness, this is a great way to kick off the fall in New Brunswick," he said.
This year, New Brunswick Oktoberfest was hosted by Makin Waves and New Brunswick City Market.
According to the Facebook page, it was a celebration of the City Center businesses, the community and the fall harvest season.
According to the page, “The music line-up will keep you entertained all afternoon and feature a combination of performances for a broad base of tastes and age groups. A variety of local food and exhibitors will keep your interest. A traditional beer garden setting of local establishments will offer craft and special draft beers for purchase."
There was a children’s area on Bayard Street with pumpkin decorating, balloon twists and face painting.
There were some vendors at the festival as well, like Empanada Express, Joselyn Foods, The Good Donut Shop, Popcorn for the People, LulaRoe, New Pride Designs, Green Home Solutions and Sofia Accessories.
This year, Harvest Moon Brewery & Cafe and Old Bay Restaurant also served up special beers in the Oktoberfest Beer Garden.
At Old Bay, Oktoberfest continued until Sunday. Doors opened at 1 p.m. and admissions included a free first draft beer, a free T-shirt to the first 100 people, a German food buffet, 24 international craft beers on tap and live German music by Alpine Express.
Bridget Skinner is a staff member at Old Bay and a Rutgers graduate.
“I am very excited for Oktoberfest at Old Bay," Skinner said. “I'm wearing traditional Dirndl.”
A dirndl, she said, is female lederhosen that includes a white top with a long skirt attached.
"We’re offering a lot of German draft beers because it's really about German culture. It's exciting because there's a lot of new options and some really excellent food too," Skinner said. "It's really just a celebration. Everyone will be happy and eating and drinking and being together.”
Danny McGill is the general manager of INC American Bar and Kitchen in New Brunswick. He too was looking forward to the festivities.
“The German tradition of Oktoberfest is one that has been around for a long time," McGill said. "It’s a fun time that means fall is here."
Jill Pastor is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.