Sunday, September 23, 2001

U.S. pride is high at Oktoberfest

Crowds pack annual street party

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Christine Nordmeyer, 4, of Bromley, Ky. dons a chicken hat Saturday at Oktoberfest.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        With American flags jutting from food booths and many people wearing red, white and blue, a strong patriotic fervor mingled with the smell of beer and brats Saturday at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest.

        “We're patriots,” said Ken Grizzel of Mount Carmel, clad in a T-shirt with a stars-and-stripes design. “This is the greatest country in the world.”

        Despite the grieving national mood since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, thousands of people packed Fifth Street for the city's popular two-day celebration of Cincinnati's German heritage.

        Brenda Jones, of Taylor Mill, Ky., said she never considered staying home Saturday because of the terrorist attacks.

        “You can't let it affect your life that much,” she said.

        Her aunt, Marlene Brokaw of Oakley, wore a T-shirt that bore the words, “Proud to be an American.”

        “I wore this during Desert Storm,” she said.

        Many people were moved by the Fountain Square memorial display for the victims of the terrorist attacks.

   • What: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
   • When: Today 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
   • Where: On five blocks of Fifth Street; Race Street and Fountain Square to Broadway, downtown.
   • Cost: Free.
   • More information: www.
        Red and white flowers ringed the fountain, and memorial wreaths hung on the railing that encircles it. People left money in donation bowls for the New York Disaster Relief Fund.

        “It just makes you want to cry,” Shirley Ruter of Bridgetown said as she looked at the flowers around the fountain. “It's so inspiring.”

        Dan and Janet Bismark of West Chester Township said they hadn't experienced any of the pushing and shoving at Oktoberfest that normally occurs with large crowds in constricted areas. Mr. Bismark said he wasn't sure if the terrorist attacks had made people less aggressive and more considerate.

        “But I'd like to think so,” he said.


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