BRISTOL - Guests were already lined up ready to get the first swigs of beer at Immanuel Lutheran Church’s version of Oktoberfest on Friday evening. The church kicked off its 5th annual German Festival, where all the proceeds made from the festival will go towards the school.
“Today is just a teaser,” said Jason Krueger, chair of the festival. “Tomorrow is the fuller day with more entertainment and food. Today we’re serving up sauerkraut, bratwurst and spatzle (a type of egg-noodle dumpling.)”
Sal Bounafede, a member of the Lutheran Church for 28 years, volunteered to make the bratwurst.
“It’s like a hot dog, but better,” Bounafede explained as he grilled food. “We just add a little bit of salt, pepper and paprika. Some like theirs with sauerkraut, others like theirs with mustard.”
Bounafede, who’s been helping since the festival started five years ago, thinks the fair is a successful idea.
“It’s really helped with our church. This is just the opener; the whole enchilada is going to be tomorrow. Everyone’s going to love the biergarten and we’re praying to the Lord that the weather stays awesome,” said Bounafede.
Krueger, who said this is the biggest tent they’ve had since they started the festival, is proud to have three different beers on tap, including Spaten Oktoberfest, Paulanger and Budlight. In previous years, Krueger said that the Spaten has been the most popular beer.
“It’s a dark and sweet dessert beer that everyone loves. It’s got a full body with a great finish. It’s smooth and higher in alcohol content and is paired nicely with a bratwurst. The Paulanger is a crisp lager and the Budlight is for those who wish to stay hydrated,” he joked.
Kevin Read, a member of the church for 25 years, said that every year the festival grows a little bit.
“It’s good to know that it’s growing and that more people are coming. I expect it to be crazy busy tomorrow afternoon when all the children are here and in the evening the entertainment will draw the adult crowd. I recommend watching the Alpenland Tanzer Dancers. They’re very interactive and everyone loves them,” said Read.
There will also be vendors will be selling interesting trinkets such as jewelry, soaps and candies and a children’s section will feature inflatable bounce houses, balloon twisters and face painters.
The festival will be open Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, at 154 Meadow St., in Bristol. Admission and parking is free.
For more information about the 2019 German Festival, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/338281640124694 .