A little bit of Bavarian Germany is coming to Saxonburg. Sprankle’s Markets will host their second annual “Octoberfest”-themed beer and food festival on Saturday in its parking lot at 270 W. Water St. in Saxonburg. The location is has moved from last year’s celebration held at Lingrow Farm in Gilpin.
“We chose our newest store to host this year because we wanted Saxonburg to have something they could celebrate,” supermarket co-owner Doug Sprankle said. “They previously didn’t have a grocery store for about two years.”
Munich’s famous annual Oktoberfest beer festival originally inspired Sprankle to host a similar version for the public here in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
“We want to make sure we celebrate our communities,” Sprankle said. “We Americanized the name to ‘Octoberfest.’ I was fortunate to visit Germany and Oktoberfest when I was 21, and the sense of community was amazing.”
Last year’s event drew thousands of beer drinking enthusiasts, many decked out in traditional German garb. Sprankle noted this year necessitated a scale-down due to covid-19 restrictions.
All covid-19 guidelines will be followed. Masks are required for entry. A giant tent with tables spaced 6 feet apart underneath will occupy one half of the Sprankle’s parking lot. Tables will be sanitized regularly.
Guest occupancy is limited to 200 people in the tent area Saturday, and patrons will wait in a line for entry as others depart. Sprankle’s decided not to cancel the event this year, even though extra precautions and guidelines have made planning more challenging.
“This year has been rough, not just for Sprankle’s but for everyone,” Sprankle said. “And because of that, we are being extra careful with all of our preparations to make sure it’s a safe and great event for everyone.”
New this year is free admission, with beer and food available for purchase at stations using food tickets. Cash will not be accepted by vendors. Conny Creek Brewing Co. of Allegheny Township is the exclusive beer sponsor, offering four locally brewed craft beers ($6 each) including Octoberfest.
Event highlights include live German music and a performance from mezzo soprano Marianne Cornetti, a Saxonburg native, with special guest Katy Williams from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. in nearby Roebling Park.
Guests must be 21 years or older to attend. German-themed food selections will include homemade Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst and sausage sandwiches and Vic and Nicalenas Wood Fired Pizza.
Magan Roth owns Megan’s Mainstreet Bake Shop in Saxonburg. She said her original Octoberfest Bavarian pretzel order was much larger until covid-19 forced a downsizing of the event.
“I was supposed to bake 1,200; now I’m making 500,” Roth said.
The Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company will offer BBQ chicken dinners for $12 and a car cruise will begin at 10 a.m. at the Saxonburg carnival grounds. Parking is free at Sprankle’s, and additional free parking will be available at Roebling Park and the Saxonburg parade grounds.
“We’re going to have a safe event and we are looking to see everyone out having a good time with their neighbors,” Sprankle said.