Golden Keg Opens Up Saline's Oktoberfest

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Oktoberfest was the latest yearly event in Saline’s public life to make its triumphant return to the community, September 17.

“Everybody is really excited. People have come to us and told us that its their favorite event,” Saline Main Street’s Holli Andrews said. “There are some new things this year and I think we’re going to have a great time.”

Beer, lederhosen, dirndl, bratwurst and community filled the parking lot west of Umbrella Square Friday evening, celebrating the largely German-American heritage that Saline started from and has grown out of. Polka music filled the beautiful late-summer evening as two horses – Lady and Winnie – pulled a cart from City Hall to the festival, carrying a golden keg.

“I think this is marvelous. I am glad we were able to host the Oktoberfest again in 2021 after a year hiatus,” Mayor Brian Marl said.

This ceremony is a recreation of what is traditional in parts of Bavaria for the ceremonial opening of the golden keg. This was the fourth year where City Councilor Jim Dell’Orco participated in opening the tradition.

“The tapping of the golden keg is basically the kicking off of ceremony for Oktoberfest, intended to mimic as closely as we can what they do in Germany, even down to the time of year that this is happening,” Dell’Orco said. “There are a lot of misconceptions about Oktoberfest. People think of it happening around October. But really it’s the preparing and the celebration of the coming of October.”

The opening act polka performer was succeeded by the band Atomic Radio. Atomic Radio drummer Randy Watson said that he was excited to be back in Saline.

“It’s been a whole year, so we have to hit double hard,” Watson said.

And it wasn’t just locals who enjoyed Friday’s festivities. Jeremy and Kimberly Meadows noticed the fliers for the festival while driving around from their home in Maybee and decided to join in.

“The beer is good,” Kimberly Meadows said.

Jeremy Meadows retired from the army as a Sergeant First Class and told this newspaper he spent seven years of his 27 year service posted in Germany.

Jeremy & Kimberly Meadows

“This was [like the] experience we had in Germany. A community coming together around food and beer,” Jeremy Meadows said. “Everyone shares a table. It’s the best of society.”

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