Last Saturday Main Street Kent held its annual Oktoberfest where restaurants and vendors brought a bit of German culture to the community, along with plenty of beer.
“We love participating and being part of the Kent scene,” said Charlie Thomas, owner of Ray’s Place. “You know, it’s kind of a community thing that brings everyone downtown, and everyone has a great time with the German music and the dancers, and of course the food.”
Ray’s Place was one of many restaurants taking part in the festivities. Restaurants in the city center displayed special menus on the theme of German food culture. Vendors lined the streets selling everything from beer to pierogis and pretzels to cheese.
One such vendor included Daisy Cakes, which sold eight different types of cake pops. Four of them included different beers supplied by Platform Beer Co. Daisy Cakes employee Kelly Svendsen said the event was great for business.
“Business has been wonderful,” Svendsen said. “I think we’re a bit around 400 that we’ve sold today so far.”
Daisy Cakes wasn’t the only company to see a lot of sales. The Pierogi Lady appeared to be sold out because workers shut down halfway through the event.
The “pierogi line was probably 100 deep all day,” Svendsen said.
Ray’s Place made 600 bratwurst for the day and prepared German food for Oktoberfest.
“We made the bratwurst and the German salad,” Thomas said. “And the sauerkraut we prepared for the last day or two.”
The event showcased downtown businesses and the beauty of the region. Frank and Diane Bindreiter attended this year’s event. They’ve been coming for a few years now.
They said their surname is of German origin and the event meant a lot to see their heritage celebrated.
“My parents are Austrian and my brother was born in Austria,” Frank said. “So when we see Oktoberfest, we go out, we drink the German beer, we get the food and we enjoy it.”
Both Frank and Diane have frequented Kent State and celebrated events in the town of Kent over the years.
Frank added that he loved seeing Kent town center being recognized and also loved seeing the community connection through this festival.
“Kent, how they revitalized the downtown core,” he said. “We come for the blues festival, any chance Kent does something more, we come to these events because it’s a cool atmosphere.”
Lucy Connolly is a journalist. Contact her at [email protected]