The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Is downtown ready for Oktoberfest?
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
Capital Ale House’s fourth annual Oktoberfest will take over part of downtown Fredericksburg on Saturday.
The 800 and 900 blocks of Caroline Street and the 100 and 200 blocks of George street will be closed to vehicle traffic from 4:30 a.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. Sunday.
The actual event will take place from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. After 10 p.m., the celebration will continue inside the restaurant until 1:30 a.m.
The annual fall festival drew 9,000 people to downtown last year.
This is the first year there will be a cover charge. The $2 fee will go to the Fredericksburg Area Service League.
This is the first year there will be a “Kidtoberfest” celebration aimed at families.
The family-friendly festivities will be in Market Square and will include an “interactive journey through Germany,” German food, healthy German recipes, root-beer-making demonstrations, German sewing crafts and information on local German settlers.
Other entertainment includes German dancers, German music by The Happy Dutchmen and Fredericksburg band Elby Brass.
The event has been controversial because some downtown merchants do not want the festival to be held on Caroline Street.
They say the closure of Caroline makes it hard for their customers to access their stores.
Ultimately, City Manager Beverly Cameron allowed the festival to be held on Caroline Street again, but made changes to make it easier for customers to access stores.
Pedestrians will be able to walk across George Street at both the east and west intersections with Caroline.
Cameron also asked that Capital Ale’s staff and contractors serving the festival park outside the downtown area so that more spaces are available for visitors and shoppers.
Parking and the barriers that line the sidewalks on Caroline have been the biggest complaints of those opposed to the festival’s location.