Kent’s 2022 Oktoberfest brought food, live music and culture to downtown

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Asha Blake

The German Family Society Dancers show the audience a trick during their performance. Many attendees watched and cheered on the group.

Genevieve Krejci, Reporter

The smell of freshly baked pretzels, bratwursts and fresh beer filled the air at Mainstreet Kent’s Oktoberfest Saturday.

Main Street Kent put on Oktoberfest with seasonal beer, German-themed food and polka music. The streets filled with people excited to try the festive flavors of beer offered by a wide range of brands.

This year featured three beer trucks that all offered drinks from Platform Beer Co., Goose Island, Saucy Brew Works and others. Some specialty flavors included sweet potato ale with cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet potato ale with marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate, and Platform Beer Co. debuted a brand new apple cinnamon shandy.

“I’ve never had sweet potato beer before,” said local John Joyce, “much less with marshmallow!”

According to Heather Malarcik, the executive director of Main Street Kent, this year also featured interactive live polka dancing, something that hasn’t been offered in previous years. This year attendees were invited to dance with the polka dancers and even dress in the traditional Lederhosen.

Mike Wojtila Trio entertain the audience. Many spectators danced to the music. (Asha Blake)

Live music played for the German Family Society Youth Dancers and attendees. After the dancing, Oktoberfest had local bands, the Memphis Cradle, City of Invention and That 80’s Band.

Local food places even put a spin on traditional German food, offering pierogies, sauerkraut, pretzels and everything in between. Erie Street Kitchen, Ray’s Place and GRAZERS were just some of the places with featured foods.

For those that weren’t interested in the themed food, there was pizza from Dom’s Wood Fired Pies, and cake pops from Daisy Pops. Oktoberfest also featured Budlight’s Black Cherry Seltzer for those who did not want the specialty beers.

The festival took place on Franklin Avenue, which was host to most of the beer trucks and food tents.

“Being on the brick road, people just love to be outside,” said Malarcik, “it’s such a great community.”

The event was sponsored by Platform Beer Co., Hometown Bank, Ametek, Portage Community Bank, Klaben Auto Stores and The Portager.

Sommer Gombar, a sophomore advertising major, came with her parents, who drove over two hours to see the festival.

Gombar’s parents were more than impressed with the food selection, being German themselves, and gave their stamp of approval for the festival and Kent itself.

“I’m so happy to see so many people out and about,” said Gombar. “I’m so happy my parents finally get to see why I love Kent so much.”

Genevieve Krejci is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected] 

Madalynn Herhold and Jagger Smith dress up in German attire for Oktoberfest. Herold and Smith are a part of the German Family Society Dancers. (Asha Blake)