Downtown Kent celebrates Oktoberfest

The German Family Society Youth Group dances outside Taco Tontos and the Loft in downtown Kent during Oktoberfest on September 26, 2015.

Weslee Clyde

Kent’s second annual Oktoberfest filled downtown with the sounds of polka and the smells of German food on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Oktoberfest is fairly new to downtown Kent, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people of all ages from coming together Saturday afternoon.

The event kicked off at noon with Polka Revolution, featuring dancing by the German Family Society.

Halle Henderson, member of the German Dance Society, said she was looking forward to showing off her team’s hard work.

“This is my first Oktoberfest at Kent but we put a lot of work into it. We learn new dances and are heading to Germany next year,” Henderson said.

While the band played on stage, the society encouraged members of the crowd to join in on the authentic German polka dancing.

Sophomore nursing major Jordyn Nenadich said she enjoyed learning the various dances performed at Oktoberfest.

“I love that nobody cares what anyone else thinks. Everyone is just here to have a great time, celebrate and dance,” Nenadich said.

The most popular part of the event is the seasonal beer. For $10, a commemorative mug and a beer ticket could be purchased on a first come, first serve basis.

At the festival, once a wristband was received, $5 refills were available at the beer truck from one of the four seasonal beers offered on tap.

Ray’s Place set up a tent on the street as well as opening its doors to everyone on Franklin Avenue.

Ray’s Place makes Oktoberfest a weekend long event. In addition to its specials including bratwurst and German potato salad, Ray’s has multiple seasonal beers on-tap for the weekend.

The Pufferbelly Ltd. also offered specials for the event featuring stuffed brussels as an appetizer and an apple strudel for desert.

Other vendors sold more German inspired cuisine: stuffed pretzels, bratwurst sandwiches and potato cakes.

“My favorite part of Oktoberfest is the dancers. They are adorable, and the beer of course,” said festival attendee Jill Watson.

The festival also offered activities other than drinking beer.

Children, adults and college students were dancing, laughing, eating and enjoying learning about the German culture. Kent Guild of Brewers offered home brewing demos at a table next to Ray’s Place.

Music continued throughout the festivities including performances by Vibrogroove, City of Invention and many more.  

“Everyone is so happy at Oktoberfest. It is such a great feeling and such great weather this year,” said John Rhodeback, an attendant at the Ray’s Place booth.

Kent’s Oktoberfest is just one of many that have taken place in the Ohio area. According to, Cleveland held its annual Oktoberfest over Labor Day weekend, and Akron held it’s the weekend of September 11. Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest is the largest in the United States, hosting nearly 500,000 visitors annually.

Weslee Clyde is a student life reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].