This past weekend, Slippery Rock held its second annual Oktoberfest. The event was started last year to help give local breweries a little extra support in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdowns that were occurring. The event was hosted by Mayor Jondavid Longo, and it’s an event he hopes to continue having each October.
“This event was birthed out of a concern for our local businesses, last year when COVID restrictions on the state level made it nearly impossible for our businesses to conduct commerce inside their brick-and-mortar restaurants and establishments, we decided to come up with Oktoberfest as an outside venue so more folks could conglomerate in a safer manner,” Longo said.
Last year, when the event first occurred the idea was to give businesses an extra stream of revenue so they could keep afloat. Longo pointed out that they just wanted to help these businesses keep employees on the payroll.
“[This year], naturally, things were a lot easier because we didn’t have to have anyone from the government breathing down our neck,” Longo said. “The most profound change this year though is that we have a lot less vendors, and sadly the vendors explained to me that they don’t have the labor necessary to participate this year.”
The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt by many businesses in the area, which is why Longo felt it was extremely important to have the event again. While some businesses couldn’t make it, the ones that did were able to make it a success.
Like most Oktoberfest events, it is centered around different types of alcoholic beverages. It gives people the opportunity to try different types of drinks. The event consisted of 10 to 15 different breweries or distilleries.
Among them was North Country Brewing Company, who brought their chef to make some food for people to have along with their drinks. This is a strategy that they’ve used at a number of events to show that they not only have good beverages, but they also are a restaurant that makes good food.
“We love to be back out and everything that we’ve been doing with local events in the community,” said Joe Wetzl, general manager of North Country Brewing Company. “We like to give a reminder of our brand, obviously the more people that see you, the more attraction you get.”
The event also consisted of live performances, including a band, an acapella group and dancers who preformed traditional German dances. The fire station and library also attended the event to try to raise money.
Trisha and Joe Flock are part of a group that goes around the Pittsburgh area preforming, and for the past two years they’ve been able to dance close to home at the Slippery Rock rendition of Oktoberfest.
“We are here to dance for the Slippery Rock Oktoberfest, and we are Slippery Rock residents,” Trisha Flock said. “We came out for the first Oktoberfest, and we’re here for the second.”
The hope is to make this event a tradition and continue to grow each year. Oktoberfest helps highlight some of the restaurants around the Slippery Rock area and give them some much needed support.