The Town of Mount Airy is hosting its first Oktoberfest event Saturday, Sept. 29. But this won’t be like Beerfest, it’s a family-friendly event that will feature authentic food, beer and apparel. From beer trucks to food tents, the town’s inaugural Oktoberfest will roll out vendors and live music.
The kid-friendly celebration is hosted by the town, Mount Airy Main Street Association and the Come Play with Me initiative. Proceeds from the event will go to the town and a progressive, charity-inspired initiative.
Attendees don’t need to RSVP, they can just show up and enjoy. More information can be found at the Mount Airy Oktoberfest website.
The Carroll County Times caught up with the events co-creator, Scott Sirchio, on Sept. 21.
Q: I know you told me that you helped or took the lead on creating this event. What sparked the idea and what went into organizing it?
A: When I said I was co-creator, this was an idea that the current MAMSA [Mount Airy Main Street Association] President Pamela Reed and I came up with. So we had experienced another Octoberfest in a neighboring town, and we said ‘well this is something that we would like to see in Mount Airy.’ So Pamela Reed and I said ‘How can we bring this to Mount Airy?’ and we started on the journey of figuring out what the town would like.
What went into it, as far as planning, it was significant. Pamela has a lot of experience in planning town events because of Ava’s T21 Foundation, that she co-founded. And so she felt that it was a doable task. I thought that I could bring some creativity to the event. She’s creative, but I thought that putting our brains together we could put together an event that simulated the event that we had experienced in Lovettsville, Virginia.
Q: Was it reaching out to different beer vendors and breweries… How did that all work?
A: What we did was we thought about what we wanted the experience to be. We knew that the event, this is a first-time event, and we wanted it to be family friendly. We wanted it to be authentic, with music and food. So we wanted it to be a full-blown Oktoberfest experience the best we could in the inaugural event we’re putting on. That would mean that Main Street would be exposed to an event that Mount Airy hasn’t seen before and we were trying to play off of what we experienced and bring it to the town. And that would mean to keep it as authentic as possible. Now, we don’t have businesses that sell German-inspired clothing or food or even beer. So we had to piece it all together and that required some planning. So now our food vendors, our local restaurants, are going to sell German cuisine that is not typically on their menus. They’re going to sell what they usually sell, but they’re going to have Oktoberfest-themed cuisine. And the beer that’s coming in, you know, we try to appeal to folks with a variety. But we tried to find some official German Oktoberfest beer. We just decorated the town. On Main Street there will be more decorations, but now there are flags, there’s actually… there’s German flags that actually have an Oktoberfest emblem on them. They’re actually strewn along Main Street. So we’re trying to give the feel of festivity. And our time frame that we picked was the end of the… typically Oktoberfest is the last week of September or first week of October, and so we tried to put the date right on top of where the traditional Oktoberfest would occur, Sept. 29 is the date. So it’s right in therewith the German event. We’re trying to make it family friendly and authentic, with a traditional style ... from the beer garden to the food to just decorations. Everything.
Q: So it sounds like it took some serious collaboration with the local Mount Airy businesses?
A: They were eager to be involved. Mount Airy businesses are always eager to support. We just needed to convey to them our vision as to what this was supposed to be. You can imagine, preparing music, there’s not too many Mount Airy events that have live music and not only did we want live music, but we wanted it not in one corner of the Main Street area. Not the south side and not the north side. We put two stages, so now we’re having one over on the north side by the train station and one on the south side by Concetta’s. There’ll be two stages and there’ll be live music for the entire event in both venues. And we got music that would be appropriate for the event, so that’s tough to find that locally but we sought it out and we found it. We got folks to do it for a reasonable price that the event could handle.
I think one of the biggest things that we came up with was the idea of a reusable cup. We wanted to make sure that the event was as green as possible and so we chose to not generate a lot of cup trash and so we created a souvenir cup that will be reused. So you pay for your beer, you get the cup, and if you bring the cup up and get a refill, the beer is a dollar cheaper. And so that gives you the incentive of retaining your souvenir cup and reusing it.
Q: Is there anything particular about the event that you’re excited about? The authentic beer? The food?
A: I’m excited more for Mount Airy to experience something different. We’ve never had anything like this and I think it will be novel, in that one, people seem to gravitate toward Oktoberfest-related events in surrounding towns. But we were able to bring that to our town and it’s already, it’s actually unified a lot of the town functions. Because it’s a town-sponsored event that’s being hosted by MAMSA and the Come Play with Me initiative. And that Come Play with Me initiative is something that Ava’s T21 foundation has been involved in and that is an American Disabilities Act compliant playground; an all-inclusive playground that will go in town. The exact location has not been pinned down yet. But it’s going to be an ADA-compliant, all-inclusive playground that this event will feed money into. … so not only is it a town-sponsored event, but MAMSA is hosting it and the money is coming back into a town initiative, which in itself is progressive, because American Disabilities Act playgrounds are not common.
Q: Should we expect to see some Lederhosen out there?
A: Yup, yup. There’s going to be a apparel contest. So Miscellaneous Distillery is going to be judging the apparel and we totally are encouraging people to come dressed for the event in traditional clothing.