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Record crowd enjoys Glenville’s annual Oktoberfest

Record crowd enjoys Glenville’s annual Oktoberfest

German music, food and beer, along with a slew of family-friendly activities, brought an estimated 1
Record crowd enjoys Glenville’s annual Oktoberfest
Erich and Katherine Schmidt of East Greenbush dish up bratwurst under the German-American Club of Albany tent during the Glenville Oktoberfest at Maalwyck Park on Saturday.
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Manfred Spikereit wore a wide-brimmed, green Army hat Saturday decorated with a feather and pins from all over Germany.

As he drank an Oktoberfest beer under a tent at Maalwyck Park — a helicopter flying overhead, German polka music playing in the neighboring tent and classic cars lined up behind him — the German native felt right at home.

The pins commemorated places like the picturesque village of St. Gilgen and Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, which he visited 10 years ago on his honeymoon with his wife, Mary, who joined him at the fifth annual Glenville Oktoberfest.

“It’s the one time of year that I can wear this without looking out of place,” said Spikereit, 68, of Glenville.

German music, food and beer, along with a slew of family-friendly activities, brought an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people to the park, a new record for the event, said Chris Koetzle, Glenville town supervisor.

The event was moved this year to Maalwyck Park after outgrowing its original location at Richmor Aviation. The aviation company hosted a then-record roughly 8,000 people in 2013.

Koetzle said the new venue was “perfect for us” because it allowed the event’s more than 70 vendors to spread out across the park’s soccer fields. The park also allowed for fireworks, which were set to go off at 8:15 p.m. Helicopter rides were another new addition.

More than 100 people volunteered more that 900 hours for the event, which ran from noon to 9 p.m.

“This is the community event we’ve always envisioned for the town of Glenville, and everyone’s having a great time,” Koetzle said.

Mario Beros, 69, of Niagara Falls, was on his way to the beer tent with his nephew, Jeff Gonzalez, after posing for a picture with an alpaca, his face painted to look like that of a pirate.

“I scared the crap out of the children,” said Beros, who was there with his wife, as well as his nephew, his wife and their two kids, ages 7 and 10.

“It’s a great day, beautiful day,” said Gonzalez, 43, of Guilderland, a first-time festival-goer. “It’s nice. They have things here for the kids and the ladies, too — plenty of jewelry.”

There was also, of course, plenty of German beer from a variety of vendors. Pete Bednaric, co-owner of the Wolf Hollow Brewing Co. in Glenville, said he expected to sell six barrels, “which for us is quite a bit.” The nanobrewery opened last fall and was at Oktoberfest for the first time.

“The people just keep pouring in,” he said. “A lot of people have come up to us and said, ‘Oh, we didn’t realize you guys were in Glenville,’ which is exactly what we wanted out of this.”

As Spikereit drank the brewery’s Oktoberfest offering, he pointed out the one pin on his hat that didn’t come from Germany — that of a combat infantry gun. Spikereit, who moved to Queens from Hamburg, Germany, when he was 9, is an Army veteran who fought in Vietnam.

Spikereit said he comes to Oktoberfest every year.

“It’s really a great weekend,” he said. “The weather is wonderful — I’m enjoying the great outdoors.”

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