Augustoberfest folks frolic on

August 14, 2005|By TAMELA BAKER

If you'd like to add a little Bavarian flavor to your weekend, you've still got time.

Today's activities for this year's Augustoberfest in downtown Hagerstown begin at 11 a.m. and run until 5 p.m., complete with plenty of spaetzle, nonstop children's events and lots of authentic German music.

This year marks Augustoberfest's 10th anniversary, and organizer Charles Sekula said that expanded programs - including performances by a local drama troupe - "have been received well." And while Sekula said Saturday's warm weather was "playing a big role" in attendance, Phil Kelly, chairman of the Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation, estimated more than 1,000 visitors braved the heat to attend.

There were plenty of seats available under the big tent Saturday as a Bavarian band played for patrons indulging in the German dinner fare.


But as the sun began to fade and temperatures began to fall, Kelly predicted "the evening crowd" would drift in "and then the party really starts."

"There's air under the big tent; it's cooler than you might think," he insisted.

And besides, he said, "the food's terrific and the beer's cold."

Among the new offerings this year are performances by students of Authentic Community Theatre's Summer Institute for the Arts. "It's Grimm in Hagerstown," billed as a "roving fairy tale performance," features local children and teenagers in tongue-in-cheek renditions of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Sekula credited Niki Perini, artistic director for Authentic Community Theatre, for providing the entertainment.

"She's magnificent," he said.

Sekula had equally lofty observations about the more than 100 volunteers who run the festival ("It's really wonderful that people would spend their weekend helping out") and the foundation's board ("They put up with me").

Kelly said putting on Augtoberfest costs "close to $100,000," including in-kind donations from local businesses. But in addition to income from admissions, the festival has a number of corporate sponsors that provide funding.

Kelly said any money left over after the festival goes to the student exchange program between Hagerstown and its sister city, Wesel, Germany.

And lest anybody speculate, Sekula wanted to put one suggestion to rest.

"There've been comments made about (Augustoberfest) moving out of downtown," he said. "I don't care what the polls say, it's not going anywhere."

If you go

What: 10th annual Augustoberfest

When: Today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Downtown Hagerstown across from the Central Parking Lot off North Potomac Street.

Cost: $7; free for children 12 and younger.

Food and beverages can be purchased at the event.

The event will be held rain or shine.

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