Oktoberfest crowd deemed largest ever

IN TRUE GERMAN STYLE, Wilfried and Rose Marie Mazanke danced a polka on Saturday while wearing the traditional German lederho-sen and dirndl. -- Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke — 

This year’s Oktoberfest, enhanced by perfect fall weather, is believed to have set attendance records.

While numbers are still being counted, organizers think the event drew the most people to Marktplatz in its 33-year history.

It was the place to be, and not just for locals. People from around the state and nation, plus some from other countries, made the trip to experience Oktoberfest in German-rooted Fredericksburg.

“Overall, numbers indicate that it was stronger than last year,” said Debbie Farquhar-Garner, event coordinator. “The growth of Oktoberfest helps the overall impact on the town. With the sold-out lodging, people going to restaurants or to H-E-B, or buying a tank of gas, everybody benefits from this weekend.”

Ernie Loeffler, president of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, said Mother Nature “smiled on us” so the celebration continued uninterrupted.

“It demonstrates the drawing power of the German culture,” Loeffler said. “Oktoberfest is certainly one of our signature events for Fredericksburg.”

Business owners also were happy with the huge turnout.

“We were slammed,” said Destiny Sheffield, a co-owner at Fredericksburg Bakery on Main Street. “We sold a ton of pastries. We typically don’t sell a lot of alcohol, but we sold it from 9 a.m. until we closed. They never quit. There are specific weekends when I know our customers will be in a good mood, and Oktoberfest weekend is definitely one of those.”

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