Prost! Oktoberfest draws crowd in New Bedford

By Jonathan Carvalho
October 05, 2014 12:00 AM
oktoberfestIt might not have been Munich and nobody was wearing lederhosen, but German or otherwise, Oktoberfest brought hundreds to State Pier Saturday.
“We’re German, first of all,” Kathy Roessle of New Bedford, adding that there was once a Boston brewery named Roessle, giving her another reason to hold a stein of beer at the event.
Nick Francis, the event chairman and a member of host organization the South Coast Business Alliance, said Saturday afternoon Oktoberfest was shaping up to be one of the most successful in its nine-year run.
“This is the biggest turnout we’ve had this early in nine years,” he said at about 5 p.m. Proceeds of the event go to various nonprofits for at-risk youth, Francis said.
“The beer brought us here,” said John Braga of Dighton, sitting with his wife Colleen. “We’re only on our second one.”
In mid-afternoon, D. Steven White of New Bedford noticed that there was a certain crowd making up much of the patrons who were sampling from among thirty beers.
“It’s all baby boomers now,” himself among them, he joked. The younger crowd would come later, White predicted.
“I think it’s great — when we came in there were about 10 people,” he said, with about 200 people now in the room with him.
“It’s fun,” said Dennis Durkin of New Bedford. “It’s nice to be able to take advantage of things on the waterfront.”
“It’s nice to see people utilizing the pier,” said Shelly Correia of New Bedford.
Mike Schroeder of Mattapoisett said Oktoberfest’s top priority was met.
“The beer’s very cold and it’s very good — that’s number one,” he said.
Schroeder is German and has visited but hasn’t been to Oktoberfest — yet, he says. His wife, AnnMarie, said their son Matthew was on his way to the event after having recently spent a month in Germany.
Dan and Pam Corcoran of Fairhaven had just one complaint between the two of them.
“We wish the weather was nicer,” said Pam, as most people huddled inside the pier building rather than braving the scattered showers outside.
Dagny Ashley, the city’s director of tourism and marketing, was among the visitors Saturday and said she was glad to see the event had brought people to the city.
“It’s events like this that make my job easier,” she said.
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