The keg is tapped and the brats are ready for serving at the 16th annual Oktoberfest.

A celebration of all things German kicked off Friday night in downtown Erie.          

The 16th annual Oktoberfest has returned to St. Joseph Church, 147 West 24th St, with all the food, beer, and music that makes it a popular hit.

It’s more than just fun and games, it’s a big boost to the local economy. Friday kicked off a three day celebration of German heritage and culture, including German beer, food, music, deserts just to name a few… all bringing in a nice profit.

Oktoberfest is St. Joseph Church’s lone fundraiser of the year.

“We put everything into this every year to try and raise funds to help the parish exist, just to help it continue on throughout the coming year,” said Shannon Barry, Oktoberfest organizer.

While the beer and food bring in a lot of money, most of the money raised comes from people buying raffle tickets for a new car.

This year it’s a 2022 BMW.

“I say (to) people who don’t like gambling, I say it’s not gabling, it’s a donation. You give a donation to the parish and you might win 50 thousand dollars or a BMW this year. So this year its the thing, so every year the people of Erie, its like the last big festival in the city, everybody comes up and we have a fine time,” said Father Larry Richards, St. Joseph Church.

This keeps them going as an inner city parish. “As an inner city parish it’s hard now-a-days, but god has blessed us unbelievably,” said Father Richards.

The fun returns Saturday 1 to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.