THE WEST ANNAPOLIS neighborhood, so-named despite being north and east of the center of town, is just barely on the tourist and shopper maps.
And that's unfortunate.
The main commercial drag, Annapolis Street, runs under oak trees flanked by lawns and shrubs and little shops whose names will be unrecognizable. No malls here -- yet. There's even a place or two where folks are alleged to sleep over their shops.
The West Annapolis folks will celebrate all this Oct. 8 with the neighborhood's 10th annual Oktoberfest and Street Festival. Annapolis Street will be blocked off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., about 40 vendors will set up tables to peddle all sorts of trinkets, the Heimat Echo band will go oompah, oompah, and the best of wurst will be offered by Regina's Continental Delicatessen.
And there will be bier zu drinken.
"The purpose of the Oktoberfest is to acquaint, or reacquaint, people with West Annapolis," said Carl Ihli, proprietor of Bon Vivant Antiques.
"The festival enjoys neighborhood support because it's a great family event that includes lots of things for the kids," said Nelson Stammer of Clocks, Classics & Collectibles. He's also president of West Annapolis Business Association.
"We will be serving bratwurst, weisswurst, knockwurst and bauernwurst," said the deli's Stephanie Regina Knopp, adding that bratwurst is usually the most popular of her wursts. "We will also have pit beef and pit turkey."
Stammer extols the small-townness of West Annapolis.
"The business association is made up of small-business people," said Stammer. "The preponderance of business owners live in Annapolis. And I would guess that half our business comes from people who live in Annapolis. The other half of our customers come from Baltimore and the Washington suburbs, and from the Eastern Shore."
He admitted that West Annapolis is somewhat off the beaten Annapolis track, running in third place behind Main Street and Maryland Avenue.
"We have our own specialty shops," he said. Stammer sees West Annapolis becoming a major stop for people who are serious about antiques. "We're not that far from downtown, a nice, easy walk away."
And his trump card: "We seem to have the parking. Because of our smallness, the turnover of cars can be pretty quick."
Celebrate the oyster
After a brunch of beer and bratwurst, you might consider heading south that same Sunday for a taste of the Chesapeake.
Shady Side Rural Heritage Society is sponsoring its West River Heritage Day Oyster Festival at the Capt. Salem Avery House Museum on Shady Side Road. It'll be from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8.
The stars of the program will be oysters -- raw, fried and in other permutations. But hot dogs, hamburgers, beer and wine will also be sold.
The day will include an array of music, including Them Eastport Oyster Boys (Jeff Holland and Kevin Brooks), the Ship's Company Chanteymen, Miriam O'Connor and the Good Deale Pickers, and Janie Meneely.
Among the vendors are Calvin Phipps, who will display bay antiques and memorabilia; Donna Valleix with her handcrafted jewelry; and the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
Artist John Douglass will display his scratchboard prints of the area, and David Colburn and Lee Boynton will offer prints of their Chesapeake Bay scenes.
Admission is $3, but free for children younger than age 12. Parking will be at nearby ball fields, but there will be handicapped parking at the museum.