Oktoberfest returning to Milford after pandemic break

Devon Rotary Club's 27th Annual Milford Oktoberfest at Fowler Field's Rotary Pavillion in Milford, Conn. on Saturday Sept. 26, 2015. This year's Biergarten featured 14 Oktoberfest and craft beers on tap. This popular event is also a fundraiser for the Devon Rotary Club. Proceeds directly benefit the organizations' charitable trust foundation that distributes over $25,000 in annual scholarships to local Milford students.

Devon Rotary Club's 27th Annual Milford Oktoberfest at Fowler Field's Rotary Pavillion in Milford, Conn. on Saturday Sept. 26, 2015. This year's Biergarten featured 14 Oktoberfest and craft beers on tap. This popular event is also a fundraiser for the Devon Rotary Club. Proceeds directly benefit the organizations' charitable trust foundation that distributes over $25,000 in annual scholarships to local Milford students.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — The Milford Oktoberfest had been a fixture in the city for more than three decades, until the pandemic forced a hiatus these past two years.

With 2022 comes a return of the two-day bash to Fowler Field, with organizers expecting 3,000 to 4,000 people to attend Sept. 23 and 24.

“We are back in action,” said Erika Shea, Rotary Club of Devon public image chair. “We have had to cancel due to COVID for the past two years. This year, we have some new bands and very popular local bands featured.”

In the past, Shea said the festival was held at Fowler Field in Milford, but was changed to Walnut Beach to host at the pavilion built by the Devon Rotary.

“Several factors caused it to become smaller, prior to 2010, we did it at Walnut Beach, and we only sold three kegs of beer,” said Shea. “We considered eliminating it as a fundraiser until a few Devon Rotarians decided to try to change it.”

The decision was made to move it back to Fowler Field in 2010.

“We then expanded it by adding a Friday Oktober Eve, it gets larger every year,” Shea said. Testimony to the fact that we sell 70 kegs of beer now. We feature all different seasonal craft beers and, of course, Bud Light.”

Devon Rotary 2017-18 President Tami Jackson, right, and Sergeant-at-arms Anita Eisenhauer are ready for the Devon Rotary Oktoberfest set for noon-9 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Rotary Pavilion at Fowler Field, behind the Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave. Admission is $10. It will include a beer garden, German and American food, food trucks, a brat-eating contest, German dancers, an oompah band, The Run Runners, Double Shot, and Chris and Ronnie. The event benefits Rotary charities.

Devon Rotary 2017-18 President Tami Jackson, right, and Sergeant-at-arms Anita Eisenhauer are ready for the Devon Rotary Oktoberfest set for noon-9 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Rotary Pavilion at Fowler Field, behind the Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave. Admission is $10. It will include a beer garden, German and American food, food trucks, a brat-eating contest, German dancers, an oompah band, The Run Runners, Double Shot, and Chris and Ronnie. The event benefits Rotary charities.

Contributed photo

Admission is $10. On that Friday, the kick-off to Oktoberfest begins at 5 p.m. with a happy hour, and Mayor Benjamin Blake will be in the biergarten at 6 p.m. for the official keg tapping. The festivities continue on Saturday at noon and run through 7 p.m. The festival will feature food trucks and live music.

This year, Shea said they have some German vendors selling merchandise.

“What has made this festival successful is our sponsors in particular Orange Ale House, which helps in securing our great selection of beers and volunteer staff,” she said. “It is also successful because of the commitment that our Rotary Club made. Volunteers spend hundreds of hours planning the event.”

Shea mentioned this year, they will still be mindful of the pandemic precautions in their setup.

“We will be set up for electronic payments to keep down on cash handling,” she said. “Admission tickets are available in advance on Eventbrite or at the gate.”