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City manager approves Oktoberfest application
Fredericksburg City Manager Beverly Cameron has granted Capital Ale House permission to hold its annual Oktoberfest event on September 29 on the 800 and 900 blocks of Caroline Street and the 100 and 200 blocks of George Street.
He tells Matt Simmons, the president of Capital Ale House, in a letter, which he also sent to the Free Lance-Star.
“My staff has advised that you have satisfactoriily completed all requirements of the City’s special event permitting process, including proof of insurance, public notification and acceptable documentation of logistics and event planning,” the letter reads.
Cameron wrote that the application was revised to allow pedestrian travel across George Street at both the east and west intersections with Caroline Street. “This greatly improves pedestrian flow and accessibility along Caroline Street, and my approval is conditioned on this modification,” he writes in the letter.
This came as no surprise to Simmons, who said in a phone interview that he had previously discussed doing that.
He also requested that Capital Ale House staff and contractors serving Oktoberfest utilize parking outside the immediate downtown area so that parking is available for visitors and shoppers.
Simmons said that the company already utilizes parking outside downtown, so that would not be a problem either.
He said that Capital Ale House will be working with Fredericksburg Parent and Family magazine to do something more family-friendly during the day of the festival.
“We’re working with them to come up with something that’s going to bring families and children to some of the merchants,” he said.
There’s been controversy recently over the fall festival. Some downtown merchants complained about the street festival that drew about 9,000 people to downtown Fredericksburg last September.
In April, 90 downtown business owners signed a petition opposing the event and its location and presented it to the City Council. At the same time, the Economic Development Authority encouraged Cameron to keep Oktoberfest on Caroline Street.
Cameron sent out a survey to 185 downtown businesses about the festival and released the results this week.
He got about 80 responses (thought not everyone answered every question). (see the complete survey results here)