The revamped and relocated Oktoberfest celebration from Deutsches Haus gets underway this weekend at Kenner's Rivertown Centre (415 Williams Blvd., Kenner; www.deutscheshaus.org). It's the continuation of a long-running tradition.
The German cultural group's historic headquarters and Oktoberfest venue on South Galvez Street in Mid-City was demolished this spring to make way for the LSU hospital, prompting the move to Jefferson Parish this year.
In the past, Oktoberfest stretched over five weekends, but this year, it lasts just two weekends, Oct. 14-16 and Oct. 21-23. The Rivertown space is much larger than the old Deutsches Haus site, however, so the group is expecting more people and its members are pulling out all the stops to ensure it can feed the expected masses. It is bringing in a mobile kitchen on an 18-wheeler and doubling the number of food serving lines to four. The number of beer kegs organizers expect to dispatch is now 900, up from some 750 kegs last year.
"It's a shorter time frame but a bigger event, there's more packed into it," says Al Bourg, the group's treasurer.
Bands will play continuously through this Oktoberfest, and there will be puppet shows for kids, seated beer and wine tastings for adults, contests and a screening of a presentation on the history of Germans in New Orleans. The group also plans to unveil architectural drawings for the Deutsches Haus it intends to build in Mid-City along Bayou St. John.