Oktoberfest celebrated in Shepherdstown

September 21, 1998

OktoberfestBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - It's not October yet.

But regulars to the annual Oktoberfest celebration at the Bavarian Inn and Lodge in Shepherdstown knew to expect the festive outdoor event on Sunday.

It has been held on the third Sunday in September since the Bavarian Inn opened 21 years ago, said Erwin Asam, who owns and runs the business with his wife, Carol Asam.

"We're trying to bring a little bit of Bavaria here to the shores of the Potomac," said Asam, who said he tries to model his Oktoberfest event after the German festival.


Several hundred people came out Sunday for traditional Bavarian food - including Black Forest cake, apple strudel, bratwurst and sauerkraut - music, dancing and, of course, beer, that mark the event.

In Munich, where the festival originated as a two-week-long wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa in 1810, Oktoberfest ends on the first Sunday in October, Erwin Asam said.

"So a major portion is usually in September," he said.

The Asams do a great job creating an authentic German atmosphere, said Libby and Jack Amtmann of Baltimore, who returned with Libby's brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Bette Trebes, for a second year.

"We were brought up by German grandparents, so it means a lot to us," said Libby Amtmann, 67, who said the outdoor event is better than the indoor Oktoberfest celebrations they've attended around Baltimore. "We like everything about it - the food, the view, the entertainment, the people."

"The beer," chimed in her brother, Joe Trebes, 64, who was enjoying a bottle of potent Bavarian brew.

"The only time I drink it is when I come to the Bavarian festivals," said Trebes, who lives in Baltimore and has a cabin in Hedgesville, W.Va.

Coming on a whim last year, Jeff and Sharon Lipscomb of Charles Town, W.Va., said they enjoyed the event so much they brought along their daughter and friends Ray and Sandy Bruning this year.

Sharon Lipscomb, 30, said their 3-year-old daughter, Sandy, was having a great time.

"She loves dancing. She loves it," Lipscomb said.

The event compared favorably with the real Oktoberfest, said Ray Bruning, 36, of Tuscawilla Hills, W.Va., who remembers attending the festival in Munich as a teen.

But the feeling was somewhat different, said Bruning, who said his mother comes from a town outside of Munich.

"German people are much more relaxed, laid-back," he said.

Dan Saum, 36, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., said he was glad he and his family decided to try the event after seeing it advertised in the newspaper.

"We thought it would be fun," said Saum, who said he has German ancestors.

For the most part, they were pleased, he said.

Sons Danny, 10, and Bobby, 5, were having a lot of fun, he said.

"The only thing I could recommend for the future is more craft vendors," said Saum, between bites of German sausage and sips of beer.

"Shopping," said wife Lillian, 33, swaying to the upbeat music.

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