Sunday, September 7, 2003

Beer fest at Oktoberfest



By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It's not necessarily the scrumptious sauerkraut balls that draw a crowd at the MainStrasse Oktoberfest in Covington. It's not the strudel or the schnitzel either. And it's certainly not the pungent Limburger cheese. It's the beer - which, on a mild Saturday afternoon, was flowing faster than the Ohio River on a stormy day.

"I think this is the main draw of Oktoberfest," said Monica LaFever, 41, of Fort Wright, who was serving thirsty patrons at a Miller beer truck. "That's what Germans do - drink beer and eat sausage."

IF YOU GO
What: 25th annual MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest.
When: Concludes noon-9 p.m. today.
Where: Covington's MainStrasse Village.
Admission: Free.
Information: (513) 357-6246 or www.mainstrasse.org
With enough oompah to get everyone's lederhosen hoppin', the city's event celebrated its 25th anniversary this weekend.

The celebration, once a small neighborhood event, has grown into a three-day, six-block party along Sixth Street Promenade that draws about 175,000 celebrants a year. It features 26 food booths, 100 craft vendors, as well as food, games and music.

Word has gotten around. Perrin Mosca, 26, was in town this weekend with Zef LeKaj, 27, and Peter Mosca, 27, all of Rochelle Park, N.J., to watch a Bengals game. A hotel employee at the Fort Wright Ramada Inn pointed them toward MainStrasse.

"They said 'Oktoberfest,' and that's all I needed to know," he said. "It's all about beer. German beer."

Oktoberfest - and the lager that comes along with it - is an annual tradition for Joe Crail, 26, of Covington.

"We were here drinking last night. We're here today," he said. "And we'll probably be back here tomorrow."

Julie Eilerman, 28, of Park Hills, was joined by friends as she walked along MainStasse.

"I think the big draw would be food and shops during the day," she said. "But at night, it's a total beer-drinking scene."

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com




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