The lines were long over at St. Joseph Church with people spending money for their favorite German foods and beers. Organizers hoped to make up lost funds after last year’s event was drive-thru only.
15 years ago, Fr. Larry Richards said they need to do something for their German heritage, and raise money to keep the doors open at the church.
Oktoberfest is the last big festival in the City of Erie this season. Folks are lining up to get bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, and authentic German beers.
It’s more than just folks having fun. Fr. Larry Richards says the money raised keeps the church going.
“Because we are an inner city parish. We only have 400 families in our parish, so this keeps us going for the whole year,” Fr. Richards said.
Last year was a drive-thru only event. Fr. Richards says he is happy its back to an in-person event, but they are still careful to keep people safe.
“This year, it was not as bad. We made sure we still have cleaning stations all over and we got masks for people who want masks and are not vaccinated, so we tried to do everything,” Fr. Richards said. “The Health Department has been here two or three times to make sure we are doing everything 100% right.” Fr. Richards said.
Erie Mayor Joe Schember says its great to see people ready to spend their money.
“I think a lot of people have lots of extra money to spend right now because they have not been going out to dinner and they have not been going out to movies,” Mayor Schember said. “We just have not been doing things, come here to something like this, spend some money, I encourage everybody. It has really lifted my spirit up just being here.”
Erie resident John Stanek was grabbing a beer with friends and family. He is happy to help local businesses and organizations.
“We try to support all the local functions around town, whether its the Polish Fest, German Fest, Greek Fest, we try to support local because that’s where we are from,” Stanek said.
Fr. Richards says they also give 10% of the money raised to local charities. Oktoberfest runs through the weekend and its free admission and parking.
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