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Visitors flock to downtown Lake George for Oktoberfest activities

Accordion player Herb Liebenhagen of Latham sings a traditional German song Saturday Oct. 6 during a performance at Lake George Oktoberfest. The village's festival of German food, music crafts and family fun — featuring the main downtown block cordoned off for pedestrians — continues Sunday Oct. 7 through late afternoon.

Accordion player Herb Liebenhagen of Latham sings a traditional German song Saturday Oct. 6 during a performance at Lake George Oktoberfest. The village's festival of German food, music crafts and family fun — featuring the main downtown block cordoned off for pedestrians — continues Sunday Oct. 7 through late afternoon. Photo by Thom Randall.

— With a central downtown stretch of Lake George’s main drag blocked off Saturday Oct. 6 for an Oktoberfest event, thousands enjoyed locally brewed beer, socializing, German food and music, craft sales and family activities.

The celebration continues Sunday Oct. 7 from noon through late afternoon.

The success of the first of two days of Lake George’s Oktoberfest took store staffers and local officials by surprise.

“This is insane!” exclaimed a clerk at Molly Malone’s as she viewed dozens of customers packing the Irish clothing and gift store on a day the shop would otherwise be nearly empty. “This is better than a peak summer day!”

Outside, thousands of people milled around on Canada St. — Lake George Village’s main venue — listening to the authentic German music played by two accordion players — one performing in a tent set up on the street, another wandering the street and sidewalks.

Nearby, Dave Densmore, owner of Woodworks Furniture Gallery & Design said the capacity crowd seemed to be enjoying getting out and enjoying the scenery, visiting the shops and the ambiance of a street fair. This is the first time in recent history Lake George’s main thoroughfare has been shut down in order to host pedestrians.

The long mid-Village block of Canada St. from Montcalm to Amherst streets is blocked for traffic through late afternoon Sunday Oct. 6. Instead of vehicles, the street is accommodating booths with craft and specialty goods, plus a large tent with craft-brewed specialty beers on tap, German entertainment and tables where people can sit down and enjoy samplings of German food.

Mid-afternoon Saturday, the crowd was getting into the Oktoberfest spirit, with many visitors dancing to the German accordion music and singing of Herb Liebenhagen of Latham.

Swaying back-and-forth in the front row and singing phrases of the German songs were John and Hansi Washburn of South Glens Falls. The Washburns have been featured on the “I Love NY” brochures and posters promoting Oktoberfests around the state.

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