Trisha Patel / Lantern photographer
For some Columbus residents, a taste of Germany was just around the block this weekend. And at the Columbus Oktoberfest, a taste of German food and beer was at the turn of about every corner.
Around 32,000 people gathered at the 46th Annual Columbus Oktoberfest over the weekend, which was held at the Ohio Expo Center.
Carla Epler, Oktoberfest’s director, said the fesitval gives reason for everyone to embrace German culture.
“During the Oktoberfest, everyone is German,” Epler said. She also estimated that more than 28,000 people attended last year’s festival.
One loyal attendee of the event is Ashley Iagulli from Hilliard, Ohio, who met her husband at the 2006 Columbus Oktoberfest.
She said they have since come back every year to enjoy and remember that moment.
“This place is so special to me,” Iagulli said. “Also it has really good food and a different variety of beer.”
Oktoberfest featured a slew of entertainment options and activities, along with many German-inspired foods, such as beer bratwurst, potato pancakes, cabbage and noodles, pierogees and cream puffs. Various beers were also available and some brands served were Brooklyn Brewery, Paulaner Munich Bier and HofbrÃ¤u. There were four sites: two for food vendors, music stages and dance floors for polkas and more contemporary musical offerings, one for arts and crafts exhibition, and one featuring activities for kids.
The arts and crafts exhibition in Giant Eagle Marktplatz pavilion featured 50 artists, crafters and small businesses.
At the children’s area, children were able to participate in making arts and crafts, throwing rubber chickens, get their face painted and watch a juggling show.
Comedy juggler Matt Jergens said he has been juggling at Columbus Oktoberfest the past 10 years.
“Oktoberfest is always good and a great experience,” Jergens said. “I love when all the kids come up and give me a high five.”
The festival originated in German Village’s Schiller Park, moved to the Ohio Expo Center, and then moved back to German Village for several years, according to its website. But the German Village Society voted to cancel Oktoberfest in July 2009, so it moved back to the Ohio Expo Center.
Some people, however, prefer the Ohio Expo Center location anyway.
“I’ve been through all different locations. This is the spot they’ve kind of said, ‘This is it.’ This has the most (space) for everybody. It has a big dance hall and lots of seating,” Jergens said.
Jeff Crank from Worthington, Ohio, also said he enjoys the Ohio Expo Center location.
“It has a much nicer atmosphere than when it used to be in a small confined space down in German Village,” Crank said.
The Schmidt family, which runs Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus’ German Village, and partners such as Delta Dental, Giant Eagle and Budweiser hosted the festival.
Tickets to purchase food and drinks were sold in strips of 10 for $10, but admission to the event was free. Food items cost three to 12 tickets, and beverages ranged from five to 15 tickets.