Oktoberfest returns with fond memories

"It wouldn't be September in Central New York without an Oktoberfest in Baldwinsville."

That was a quote from the Sept. 15, 1993 edition of the Baldwinsville Messenger and, while autumns have continued since the popular German festival was last held, this year's return is sure to stir up many fond memories.

"Oktoberfest has an appeal that is nostalgic to people," said Megan O'Donnell, a member of the Oktoberfest committee. "Those of us who were children and teenagers attending the event are now looking forward to enjoying the event as adults."

After spending 13 years in Tri-County Mall's parking lot, the Baldwinsville Oktoberfest was moved to the New York State Fairgrounds in 1991 when it outgrew the previous location. This move left a 17-year absence of Baldwinsville's most notable fall event, and a few years later, the festival was cancelled all together.

Bringing Oktoberfest back

Planning for the return of this memorable German festival began in early July and Baldwinsville's mayor spearheaded the effort.

"Joe has been the driving force behind bringing this event back to Baldwinsville," O'Donnell said about Mayor Saraceni. "He brought all the organizations like the Greater Baldwinsville Economic Development Agency and the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce together to get it off the ground."

Saraceni also contacted Sen. John DeFrancisco, who was able to secure a $10,000 grant for the event. These funds will be used to rent the tent and to purchase beer and wine, which will be sold at the event.

The funds aren't the only things making this festival possible. The Oktoberfest committee has also been recruiting volunteers to take tickets, serve beer and work behind the scenes of the event and they are still looking for more help. Shifts are available in three-hour intervals. If you are interested in volunteering, contact the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center at 638-0251. If not, just come and enjoy the fun.

"Come see what's still the same and what has changed," she said.

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