Music, food, entertainment, shopping and beer will take over Main Street in Wakefield today as the Wakefield Village Association hosts its fifth annual Oktoberfest celebration from noon to 11 p.m.
Costumed characters, performers,a magician , local cheerleading performances and more will run from noon to 5 p.m. providing a variety of entertainment for children and families. The last RiverFire of the season will light up the Saugatucket from 5:30 to 11 p.m. to dazzle attendees with floating lights.
Vendors and artisans will set up along Main Street from Robinson Street to Kenyan Avenue, which will be closed to traffic for the event. A traditional keg tapping ceremony will commence at 1:30 p.m. in the Biergarten which will be set up in the parking lots beside The Contemporary Theater Company.
“Early from noon to six it’s a great feast for the senses,” said Oktoberfest Chair Kenny Burke. “We will have a large variety of foods and sounds for every taste. Whalers Brewing will be bringing their Rise and we have Shaidzon providing a local Oktoberfest.”
Shaidzon Beer Company, which is located in West Kingstown, provided beer to the 2018 and 2019 celebrations as well. Märzen is the official beer style of Germany’s Oktoberfest and Shaidzon produces their own yearly beer.
“We do a huge amount,” said co-owner of Shaidzon Chip Samson. “The largest pusher and mover of this is the Wakefield Oktoberfest. The event is very impressive. It’s busy, lively, active and fun from beginning to end. It’s great that it’s back. I mean in 2019 it was probably the biggest event that we did in terms of beer being poured.”
The presence of great beer requires that it be accompanied by delicious food. Wakefield’s Oktoberfest plans to make sure that happens. Authentic bratwurst and sauerkraut, schnitzel,apple cider and pretzels will be on sale in the Biergarten along with more American standards such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken, french fries and kettle corn.
A small parade in traditional style called the Münchner Kindl Parade will commence at 3:30 p.m. Traditional music will be provided by The Hofbräu Spieler Band, a traditional oompah German band, who will play the expected polkas and waltzes.
After 5 p.m. the traditional music will be replaced by local bands including The School of Rock band from Massachusetts , Rhode to Bali, The Manatees, Yohanna Escamilla (a flamenco dance troupe), The Silks and finishing the evening is Dudemanbro.
What is music without dancers and performers? Amanda Selemi will dazzle with fire dancing, the S.G.T.V. Alpenblumen Schuhplattler Dancers will perform traditional bavarian dances, step dancing from the Tir Na Nog Irish Dance Studio will be accompanied with aerial stunts by the renowned Surf to Sky.
“We’re all volunteers,” said Burke “We love doing this for Wakefield. While I wouldn’t say it’s grown to be too massive a program we do get about 2,000 to 3,000 people throughout the course of the day. I mean at any one time you may have 500 to 800, maybe even 900 people there at once.”
Event information such as a schedule of events, vendor locations and tickets can be found on the association’s website at www.wakefieldvillageassociation.com/oktoberfest. Dedicated parking lots are located in the surrounding area from Wakefield to Peacedale and a shuttle has been hired to loop around the area to make attending the event easier for those who have to park further away.
“We’ve secured a continuous shuttle to help people get to the event,” said Burke. Burke said that the shuttle will be running a constant loop and that it has been updated with GPS so that people will have an easier time locating and taking advantage of it.