October 13: Oktoberfest Hits Downtown
Story by LENA R. BRODKSY |
Photos provided by MEGHAN ROGERS
Good things come in fours. At least in Asheville they do. In addition to our scenic mountain city clinching the title of “Beer City USA” for the fourth time this year, it is also the fourth year that the Asheville Downtown Association (ADA) has organized Oktoberfest, a celebration of great craft beer and old world charm.
The original Oktoberfest is a renowned 16-day festival that takes place annually in Munich Germany, and celebrates beer, as well as Bavarian food and culture. The celebration has historical significance and attracts millions of visitors each year.
The Asheville version pays homage to the original with a myriad of entertainment options, contests, traditional foods, and, of course, beer. The event will take place downtown on Saturday, October 13 on Wall Street.
Four years ago, the Asheville Downtown Association (ADA) decided to revive this city's Oktoberfest. It was an event from the 1990s that had been lost for over a decade. “This is the fourth reincarnation of Oktoberfest,” explains Meghan Rogers, membership and marketing manager of the ADA. “In the early ‘90s they did something similar to this event. We decided to bring it back because Asheville was becoming increasingly recognized for craft beer.”
The centrally located Wall Street is the perfect setting for Oktoberfest. This cobblestone street, part of historic downtown, is lined with quaint restaurants and shops. “Wall Street has old world charm,” Meghan adds. “All four years, the event has been on Wall Street and it was held here in the ‘90s, as well.”
This year, Oktoberfest will kick off with an opening ceremony parade at 11:57 a.m. from Wall Street’s famous Flat Iron statue to the erected stage. “The parade will mostly consist of the event’s committee and sponsors, such as Harmony Motors, with the [attendees] falling in behind us,” Meghan says. “The parade ends with the official tapping of the keg [at noon]."
The keg, which is filled with a special unannounced beer, will be from one of the five participating local breweries: Pisgah Brewing Company, Highland Brewing Company, Green Man Brewery, French Broad Brewing Company, and Asheville Brewing Company. Each of these breweries will bring three of their distinct beers for attendees to drink: a seasonal selection, one of their well-known varieties, and an additional one of their choosing.
So that attendees do not drink on an empty stomach, many of the popular Wall Street restaurants, such as The Marketplace, Cucina 24, and Jack of the Wood, will set up booths outside their storefronts. “The restaurants will serve some traditional German foods, which is a little different from their regular menus,” Meghan says. Of course there will be more than enough Lusty Monk mustard and Bavarian pretzels to go around.
Some of the events that will take place include the “Smoky Mountain" keg roll, the “Alpine" horn blow, an “Oh, Gnome You Didn't!" pretzel toss,” a “Faust & Furious Bavarian" pie race, and a “Mr. & Ms. Oktoberfest" costume contest.
In addition to describing the rousing contests and games, Meghan discusses the live entertainment. The Stratton Mountain Boys are an Austrian band that will provide a true Bavarian quality to the festival. “The band is fantastic,” she says. “They love coming to Asheville; they have been a part of Oktoberfest for the last four years.”
The festival is a public event. However, attendees (21 and up) interested in sampling local beer must purchase a ticket. While the event is open to everyone, only participants with a ticket will be allowed to drink from the vast array of beers. About 2,000 people have already bought tickets, which are going quickly this year, according to Meghan. Tickets are $25 until Thursday, October 11. If there are any remaining tickets they will be sold the day of the festival for $35.
Let's celebrate an international festival with a twist of our local culture, local food, and local beer!
To purchase tickets or learn more about Oktoberfest in Asheville, visit online at ashevilledowntown.org/Asheville-Oktoberfest.html.