Oktoberfest brings culture, fun to downtown Aiken
The Alley in downtown Aiken was transformed into a little piece of Germany as residents enjoyed the inaugural Oktoberfest on Saturday evening.
Attendees lined up for a glass of cold German beer or wine and dug into some Bavarian-style food while listening to local musicians play throughout the evening. Yodeling contests and beer stein races were also part of Aiken's Oktoberfest.
Aiken Downtown Development Association, Aiken Young Professionals and USC Aiken hosted the event. Young Professionals' Community Service Chair Avery Spears-Mahoney said they were hoping for a huge turnout, and that certainly seemed to be the case. Within an hour, The Alley was overflowing with attendees.
Spears-Mahoney said that an Oktoberfest event was last held a little more than two decades ago in Aiken, and they were thrilled to be able to bring it back.
“From what we've heard, everyone is extremely excited because they wanted something in the fall similar to the Lobster Race held in the spring,” Spears-Mahoney said.
Some attendees were quite spirited and dug out their German-style clothing to celebrate the event. Ruth Bradham and her husband Dwight were wearing traditional German apparel. Ruth is originally from Germany and was wearing a dress from her homeland that she's had for about 50 years.
The Bradhams were very happy that there was an Oktoberfest event held in Aiken.
“It's about time,” Ruth said with a big smile, adding that they used to go to the Oktoberfest events held at USC-Aiken years ago.
Bobby Wilson wore lederhosen that he purchased from Germany in 1983 when he was stationed overseas. He was proudly wearing the garb among friends who were mostly dressed in their everyday clothing.
“I think it's great, and I hope it grows,” Wilson said.
Deborah Holtzscheiter was wearing a new German dress for the first time. She said her mother is from Germany, and enjoyed celebrating her heritage at the Oktoberfest event.
“How many opportunities would I get to wear this?” she asked. “I'm just excited and I think it's a good thing for Aiken.”
The event was sponsored by Kicks99, URS, 98.3 HD, Sun Printing, Bob FM, Aiken Standard and the City of Aiken.
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.