Oktoberfest attracts huge crowd opening weekend
The German American Social Club of Cape Coral reported its largest turnout in four years for the first weekend of Oktoberfest.
The 25th annual event kicked off Friday at 2101 S.W. Pine Island Road. The festival, which ran through Sunday, carries over to this weekend. The hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
“Our first weekend, we drew 20,287 people,” Oktoberfest chairman Paul Mills said. “I was expecting a good turnout, but not quite that well.”
The number of attendees was 4,214 for Friday, 10,599 for Saturday and 5,474 for Sunday. Mills said that last year, there was a combined total of 32,900 who showed up for both weekends, and 27,800 the previous year.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the best we’ve had on the first weekend,” he said.
Oktoberfest offers German food, drinks and music. Budweiser products are available, along with favorites like potato pancakes, bratwurst and sausage. Entertainment is provided throughout the event, and this year’s headliner is Blaskapelle Peng. There is a children’s area with activities, games and rides.
The cost of admission is $5 in advance from participating vendors or $6 at the gate. Children ages 12 and younger are free.
According to Mills, the biggest day of the two-weekend event tends to be the second Saturday. Last year, close to 12,000 people turned out for that day.
“That’s the big night,” he said. “I’m really looking for that this year.”
There were minor issues with the equipment on Friday, but Mills said that is typical on the first day of the first weekend. There was also some confusion with a group of high school volunteers because this was their first go at it.
There were more than 200 kegs emptied Saturday, and the hot ticket items were the sit-down dinners available in Van Stueben Hall and potato pancakes.
“Potato pancakes are our golden goose, so that did really great,” Mills said.
For more information, call the German-American Social Club at 283-1400 or visit the website at: www.gasc-capecoral.com.