Every year, on the third Sunday in September, Shepherdstown undergoes a bit of a cultural change in the form of Oktoberfest.
On Sept. 16, the Bavarian Inn will celebrate its 35th year hosting Oktoberfest. For those unaware of how Oktoberfest works, it's a traditional German festival that takes place over the course of October and shows off the best of German culture. For the past 35 years, the Bavarian Inn has continued this tradition.
According to David Asam, owner of the Bavarian Inn, they will be expecting more of the same this year.
"We booked a traditional German band and hired traditional German dancers," said Asam. "There will also be authentic German arts and crafts shown off and activities for the kids, including a moon bounce."
Asam also promised food stands packed with German cuisine and, a staple of Oktoberfest, beer. Even with beer being served, Oktoberfest is still a family-oriented event. Asam, along with his brother, Christian, have been running the festival since their parents, Erwin and Carol Asam, started the event back in the '70s.
While the event only takes place for one day, instead of a month like in its native Germany, that doesn't stop people from coming out to enjoy the festivities. Since the Bavarian Inn started hosting the event, Oktoberfest has seen, on average, 1,500 to 2,000 people a year in attendance. A huge percentage of the visitors hail from Shepherdstown, but many come from as far as Baltimore and Washington, D.C. However, an uncontrolled circumstance may change the attendance numbers a bit this year.
"Due to construction at Shepherd [University], parking will be limited," said Asam.
The construction of Shepherds' underpass has taken its toll on traffic going through Route 480. It has even hurt the advertising for Oktoberfest itself. According to Asam, even with the construction still going on around the time of the festival, the festival will go on as planned (weather permitting). For people who haven't been to an Oktoberfest before, Asam assures that newcomers will fit right in.
"People come out for the German heritage and to have a good time," said Asam.