Oompah bands and more at Oktoberfest

If last week was a good week to be Irish in downtown Milford at the annual Milford Irish Festival, then this weekend, when the Devon Rotary Club’s Oktoberfest occupied Fowler Field, it was a good time to be German.

The area was filled with oompah bands, German dancers, a brat eating contest, and an assortment of beers.

By late afternoon Saturday, a couple of thousand people had paid their $10 to get into the festival, organizers said, and the field was packed.

“It’s bigger than it was last year,” said Jessica Hall, a volunteer at the event.

Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Alagno, who is a Rotary member, said everything really came together this year to create a perfect event — from the weather to the bands to the food and entertainment.

This is the 27th year for the Rotary’s Oktoberfest, said this year’s festival chairman, Scott Moulton.

It’s only the third year, however, that the event was held at Fowler Field. Several years ago it was held at Walnut Beach and was considerably smaller.

The Oktoberfest offerings were increased when it was moved downtown, growing to the popular fund-raising event it is now.

“Whatever we make goes back into the community,” Moulton said.

Last year, the Devon Rotary hit the million-dollar mark for community donations over its years of existence in Milford.

This past weekend’s Oktoberfest was expected to bring in about $25,000. Those dollars then go toward scholarships to area students and a host of other community causes.

Moutlon joked that the Devon Rotary “actually invented” Oktoberfest in Milford, deciding to hold the event initially because “nobody else was doing it.”

He said the music, food and joviality isn’t just for people of German heritage, though the culture was well represented. Rather, the array of food and entertainment was meant to appeal to everyone.

Mary Lavery of Milford said this is the first year she attended and she found it a good way to spend Saturday evening with friends and family.

She was a little skeptical of the $10 entry fee at first, but said the music and the food, coupled with fine weather, made the event well worth the cost.