Due to scheduling conflicts Oktoberfest will once again not happen this year in downtown. In January Mayor Erin Stewart announced Main Street USA will take place on Saturday. Sept. 17 at Walnut Hill Park. As it turned out, that is the only weekend Oktoberfest Organizer Nick Augustino had available for Oktoberfest.
“They will run Main Street USA. I did not tell the Mayor in time,” said Augustino. “Unfortunately, that is the only date I can do it.”
“This is the second year that the original organizer of Oktoberfest has decided not to do another. While we certainly loved the festival downtown, I understand that there are lots of financial reasons why it is extremely hard to do a festival of that magnitude,” said Stewart. “We certainly hope that someday the organizer will have the necessary resources and sponsors to put on another one.”
The New Britain Lions Club used the Oktoberfest as a major fundraiser. An Oktoberfest fundraiser for the club will take place in the parking lot at East Side Restaurant, 131 Dwight St. on Sept. 18 the day after Main Street USA. It will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’ll have hot dogs and beer and see if we can use the busway to get people here,” said Augustino. “We are looking to get 300-600 people and we will be happy.”
Augustino said the last Oktoberfest celebration downtown in 2014 drew between 45,000-50,000 people drinking 240 barrels of beer.
The Lions Club is looking to do some fundraising at Main Street USA.
“If they can do knockwurst and bratwurst down there, I will give them the equipment,” said Augustino. “I’m game to support anything the Lions do.”
Augustino said not having the Oktoberfest last year cost him $150,000 in sales.
Oktoberfest tells everybody in the State that there is a German Restaurant in New Britain. Last year there was no Oktoberfest due to construction on Main St. There was a Main Street USA last year held at Walnut Hill Park.
“Two years ago a good time was had by all. I was looking forward to it this year,” said Augustino. “We have to sit down and talk. I think they are not too much interested in an Oktoberfest as much as in Main Street USA. I will back-off. You can’t beat City Hall.”
Last year Stewart revived Main Street USA which was held several decades ago on Main St.
This year the City will bring more music and will expand the kids zone at the event.
Last year the event featured entertainment on two stages. The schedule of events included a DJ game show, the YWCA Dance Crew, a theatre performance by the CT Theatre Company, a magic show by The Amazing Andy, live animal demonstrations and more.
A valid ID enabled admittance into the tented area where beer and wine were served. The beer garden was positioned near the main stage on the Darius Miller Memorial Band Shell so guests did not miss any of the music.
Behind the band shell on the interior loop road of Walnut Hill Park were food vendors selling fried dough and other delicious treats like hot dogs and hamburgers, sausage and peppers, cultural foods, ice cream novelties, sodas and water.
It also included helicopter and air balloon rides.