Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Oktoberfest gets permit to close 4 blocks, not 7

City Manager Beverly Cameron has made his decision on what street closings should be allowed for Capital Ale House’s Oktoberfest event, planned for Sept. 18.

The verdict: Capital Ale will be allowed to close the 800 and 900 blocks of Caroline Street, along with the 100 and 200 blocks of George Street, for the event. That’s a total of four city blocks–fewer than the seven blocks Capital Ale had requested in its application. The city has reserved Market Square for possible additional space for the event if needed, but that area is not part of the plan for the event at this time.

Below is the letter Cameron sent today to those who participated in the public comment process for the event. Click here to see a visual layout of how Oktoberfest will be set up.

I am writing to thank you for your comments on the Oktoberfest and to inform you of my decisions on how the festival will proceed this year.    The use of the public right-of-way always needs special consideration and there are many interests to weigh in such a decision.

My decisions have been guided by City Code sec. 66-47 to 54 on street closures for special events; importance placed on events in the City’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan; the Goals and Initiatives statement of the Mayor and City Council; city staff observations and recommendations on last year’s event and the 2010 special event application; my own observations of the 2009 festival and goals for this year’s event.

I have given approval for the Oktoberfest to proceed on Saturday, September 18 in the 800 and 900 blocks of Caroline Street.  In addition, the 100 and 200 blocks of George Street will be closed to through traffic and will be used as additional event and event support space for the festival.

As you can see, my approval is for a much smaller area than the applicant requested.    The original request was to close seven city blocks; my approval allows four blocks to be closed.  The original request would have taken 161 parking spaces; the approved request takes 87 spaces from the parking inventory.

In response to my requests, Capital Ale House has agreed to:

  • provide trolley shuttle service from several VRE lots for Capital Ale House and event staff as well as event attendees;
  • stage unneeded event support vehicles outside the immediate downtown area;
  • create a plan in cooperation with City Police and Virginia ABC to insure that alcoholic beverages do not leave the festival venue;
  • add exits to the venue so that festival goers can more readily access retail and restaurants adjoining the event venue;
  • increase children’s activities, and;
  • heighten the Oktoberfest atmosphere with street and venue décor.

In response to comments from last year’s event, Capital Ale House already planned some adjustments to its presentation of the event.   The event date was moved to mid-September as opposed to early October.   Sausages made by Fredericksburg’s Olde Towne Butcher and beer from the Blue and Gray Brewery will be served at the Oktoberfest.   They have also offered vendor space to downtown businesses and free ads in the festival program.

Again, thank you for your earlier comments on the 2010 Oktoberfest special event application.    If you have questions or concerns, please contact Karen Hedelt at or 372-1216.