Oktoberfest comes to 13 bars in second year

By Emily Sokolik

Students were lured out of bed early Saturday for the Booze News’ second-annual Oktoberfest. Campus bars opened their doors at noon for the beer-guzzling fall celebration.

According to the Booze News, “Basically, it’s one awesome day in the fall to celebrate beer and hang out with your friends all day long.”

Champaign-Urbana is not the first to host an Oktoberfest celebration.

The tradition dates back to 1810 in Germany where today, the two-week festival is held in Munich and attracts nearly six million people.

Last year, the Booze News decided to co-sponsor the event with Miller Lite after determining a need for the event on campus.

“We thought that the fall was lacking in something fun for students,” said Katie Utts, managing editor for the Booze News. “Sure, we have Halloween, but it’s not really that big of a thing here.”

Participating bars provided complimentary 22-oz Oktoberfest mugs throughout the day. Glasses were filled high with $2 Miller Lite drink specials. The Booze News described the mugs as “your ticket to heaven all day long.”

Oktoberfest kicked off on a Friday last year and involved six campus bars. This year, 13 bars participated in Saturday’s festivities.

Eve Tucker, employee at the White Horse Inn and University alumna, 112 « E. Green St., said the bar was part of Oktoberfest last year and was looking forward to participating in the event on a weekend. Though the date change from Friday to Saturday was expected to draw increased crowds, Tucker said business continued as usual.

“Today has been extremely steady, but it’s a normal Saturday,” she reported Saturday afternoon.

Bar Louie, 510 E. John St., also partook in Saturday’s Oktoberfest and experienced a similar situation. Brad Carlson, Bar Louie employee, said Saturday afternoon he was hoping business would pick up later in the evening.

“I’m a little worried about tonight,” he said.

Champaign police conducted random patrols around campus on Saturday to monitor student activity. The controversy surrounding Unofficial, a campus-wide St. Patrick’s Day celebration in March, prompted police to monitor student activity throughout the day on Saturday. However, Jeff Christensen, Champaign assistant police chief, said last year’s Oktoberfest was not even “a blip on the radar.”

“Unofficial started small and grew large though,” he said. “We’re concerned about some of the detrimental effects that come out of these alcohol-based gatherings.”

Despite concerns from police, Oktoberfest seemed to run smoothly, said Katie Utts yesterday.

“All the bars said they were happy with the outcome and had long lines by the end of the night,” she said. “I think we ran out of mugs.”