Old Town Oktoberfest draws crowds to Lansing area
The smell of beer and the sounds of Bavarian bands filled the streets of Old Town in Lansing this weekend for the 8th annual celebration of Old Town Oktoberfest.
Hundreds of people, including many students, gathered in downtown Old Town Friday and Saturday to embrace the longstanding German tradition.
The festival is hosted by the Old Town Commercial Association, or OTCA, an organization focused on rebuilding and revitalizing the district.
Oktoberfest is the second largest festival to be put on in Old Town each year.
In addition to providing a cultural celebration, Oktoberfest aims to support the Lansing area and show people how far Old Town has come, OTCA Executive Director Louise Gradwohl said.
“We want to show people (Old Town) is a destination location,” Gradwohl said.
She said the organization focuses on festivals like Oktoberfest to bring new people into the area.
The festival attracted many MSU students that might not have made the trek from East Lansing to Old Town otherwise.
Economics senior Brad Howell said coming to Oktoberfest was his first experience in Old Town, and said he would be interested in coming back.
“Old Town is a really cool place — I would like to come here again,” Howell said.
Oktoberfest also supported many local businesses.
The festival featured several Michigan-made beers and hard ciders, as well as food vendors from across the state.
Entertainment included several cultural Bavarian-themed bands.
This year, Oktoberfest musical headliners also included alternative bands such as Michigan-based indie rock group Mike Mains & The Branches.
Although turnout is generally large, the higher temperatures this year has caused the turnout to be better than years past.
“We have really decent weather this year, it was much colder last year,” said Joe Prevo.
Prevo and his son, Joe Prevo Jr., are Old Town Oktoberfest veterans.
“This is our third or fourth year — we go together each year,” Prevo said.
They are drawn back every year by the music, celebration, and of course, the beer.