Merriment was aplenty at Eastlake’s first annual Oktoberfest, which celebrated German heritage with live music, dancing and, of course, an abundance of beer.
The Oktoberfest was held at the Captain’s Stadium in Classic Park on Aug. 1 and featured music from the Cleveland-based Deutscher Musik Verein, or German Music Society in English, who entertained festival-goers with traditional German brass band music. Listeners were treated to — and perhaps surprised to hear — a unique polka-style rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley said he was pleased to see how well-received the festival seemed to be. Despite the day starting out with questionable weather, people still made an effort to come as the skies cleared.
“We were a little nervous this morning when the weather looked bad, but we’re happy with the turnout — would have liked to see maybe a little more,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, everyone who’s here has a smile on their face — and they’re loving the food from Hofbrauhaus.”
Hofbrauhaus, a German restaurant and brewery, has a downtown Cleveland location at 1550 Chester Ave. It also has a food truck, which was a popular stop at Eastlake’s festival.
“Today looks like a success for us,” Morley said. “The Hofbrauhaus food truck is out there along with Mr. Lee’s [Just Winging It] food truck, and both of them have had lines all day, so we’re good. It’s a good day.”
He added that city officials will evaluate 2021 community events at the end of the year, but he hopes to turn Oktoberfest into an annual affair.
Members of the Deutscher Musik Verein themselves had something to celebrate, too, band member Hannelore Gross said. Eastlake’s Oktoberfest marked the band’s first live performance since the novel coronavirus pandemic began.
It’s our first time back since COVID, and we’re so excited to be back performing. We shut down last March when everything else shut down,” Gross said.
She and several of her fellow musicians agreed that the show “felt like a reunion,” as the band brought around 30 of its diverse musicians to the festival.
Gross added that their Oktoberfest season is just kicking off, and their next performance will be at Goat Soup & Whiskey Tavern in Put-in-Bay on Aug. 14.