For the first time in twenty years, Oktoberfest returns to downtown Kent. With the return of the festival, local businesses took advantage of the extra business. Reporter Cory York went to the festival and has more.
After two decades of hiatus, Oktoberfest returns to Kent, Ohio. Dodging the hail and cold temperatures, people were still lining up for schnitzel, beer and pretzels.
During the hiatus, Kent, as a city, has gone through a lot of change.
Kent State is seeing its highest enrollment rate in its history and new businesses are constantly opening up downtown Kent. With all the new business and people comes a bigger need to bring everyone together.
It is Heather Malarcik’s job as Executive Director at Main Street Kent to bring everyone together.
“Anything we can do to drive people down here. Yeah they are here for the event, then they are going to get somewhere else to eat and they’ll go shopping.” Malarcik said.
In the past, Main Street Kent has been focused on doing spring and summer time events. The want to do something in the fall has always been present, but the threat of inclement weather is always a threat in Kent.
With the attention to downtown, the community not only benefits, but so does the local businesses.
Tom Chreech has been a manager at Ray’s Place for more than 30 years. He was working the last time the German festival was in Kent and says that it is a great opportunity for the Ray’s.
“In many ways its more helpful just to get people downtown that wouldn’t ordinarily be here. And to promote the business in that respect.” Chreech said.
Kent State Homecoming is a week away, one more time for businesses to take advantage of the extra people in town.