Raise a glass to Oktoberfest

October 18, 2007|By Dana Kinker | Dana Kinker,Sun reporter

Oktoberfest traditionally honors German heritage, but this weekend, the Brewers Association of Maryland's Oktoberfest will also be a celebration of Maryland beer.

This Saturday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, the Brewers Association of Maryland will present its sixth annual Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest. More than 60 beers from 12 Maryland breweries will be featured at the festival, along with live music and German cuisine.

The Brewer's Oktoberfest was formed six years ago to promote awareness of Maryland beer.

"There are more than 1,300 breweries in the U.S.," said Volker Stewart, president of the Brewers Association of Maryland for the past two years. "We wanted area people to know that Maryland also has high-quality beer that can stand up to all surrounding states, and this festival was the perfect way to do so."

The Oktoberfest will feature the annual Baltimore's Best Beer Belly contest, the Miss Oktoberfest contest, the Wife Carrying contest and the Maryland Homebrew contest.

"People always really enjoy the contests and get really into them," said Kat Arnold, event manager of Moorea Marketing.

The winner of the Best Beer Belly competition is the person whose stomach measures the largest. For the Miss Oktoberfest contest, women and girls get on stage dressed in dirndls, a traditional German dress, and answer German trivia. The Wife Carrying contest is a relay race where the man who carries his wife across the finish line firstand in the most creative way wins his wife's weight in beer.

Also featured at the festival will be bands on two stages. The main stage will include performances from local bands including Looking for Lester, Great Train Robbery and the Kelly Bell Band. The German stage will feature the Edelweiss Band.

The German stage will also play host to the Homebrew Contest, in which people bring beers they have brewed at home to be judged by members of the association.

The Maryland breweries featured at the festival will include Barley and Hops Grill & Microbrewery, Brewer's Alley, Brewer's Art, Clipper City Brewing Company, DuClaw Brewing Company, Franklin's, Growler's, Johansson's, Olivers, Wild Goose, Red Brick Station and The Raven. Authentic German cuisine, traditional German dancing and arts and crafts will also be available.

"The Brewer's Oktoberfest is a pretty festive event," said Stewart. "We use the occasion of an Oktoberfest but incorporate our own elements into the day to make this festival unique to Maryland. It is such a nice time of the year, there really is no better time to come out and enjoy food, live music and good beer."

The Brewer's Oktoberfest is noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for a designated driver and free for children 12 and younger. Visitors in German attire will get three free beer tokens. Call 800-830-3976 or go to mdoktoberfest.com.

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