Whitesburg KY
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First Oktoberfest a success




The crowd in downtown Whitesburg for the city’s first Oktoberfest event was continuing to swell as darkness closed in. (Photo by Ray Gish)

The crowd in downtown Whitesburg for the city’s first Oktoberfest event was continuing to swell as darkness closed in. (Photo by Ray Gish)

The Whitesburg mayor and an owner of a downtown restaurant say the city’s inaugural Oktoberfest was a success.

“It was more successful than I ever thought it would be,” said Tyler Ward, owner and operator of The Thirsty Heifer.

Ward estimates an attendance of 500 people at Saturday’s festival, which centered near the Letcher County Courthouse and Community Trust Bank. Local bands performed in front of Community Trust Bank.

The Thirsty Heifer, Summit City, StreetSide Grill and Bar, and Heritage Kitchen sold food near the courthouse. Sausage balls, pretzels, bratwurst, chicken bites, moonshine-soaked chicken kabobs and twicebaked potatoes were among some of the popular items sold at Oktoberfest. The Thirsty Heifer sold moonshine floats — Kentucky Mist Moonshine’s apple pie moonshine poured over vanilla ice cream.

“The food was good,” said Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft. “The music was good. It was extremely well attended.”

Craft said the festival created excitement about the town and has a positive effect on the local economy.

“The reason it worked, and I truly believe this, is everyone worked together,” said Ward. “I think it shows when everyone works together we can do nice things.”

Several restaurants were crowded inside its establishments in addition to booths on Main Street.

“It was great for the downtown businesses,” said Ward.

At the request of the Downtown Merchants Association, the Whitesburg City Council approved the festival in September.

Appalshop loaned the festival its sound system. Mountain Heritage Festival Committee volunteered the use of its picnic tables.

Ward said donations from West 6th Brewery and downtown restaurants as well armband sales total close to $1,000 to benefit Letcher County Cares.

Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Germany and features the consumption of beer, sausages and other items.

“We’re looking forward to making it an annual event,” said Craft. “The credit for organizing and putting all of that together goes to Tyler Ward. He worked with the City in getting it all done and he did a masterful job.”


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