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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.

— John Washburn gripped the narrow brim of his Bavarian-style hat as the crowd erupted in a rousing cheer for one of Liebenhagen’s songs.

“This music, the atmosphere is wonderful,” Washburn said. “I love it!”

Out on a sidewalk, mayor Robert Blais remarked how Adirondack Winery across the street was crammed with people socializing at their lengthy tasting bar. Blais said Adirondack Winery’s owners had to call in extra staff due to the rush of people on Saturday.

Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George had its craft brew wagon with a half-dozen beer varieties on tap situated beside the large festival tent. All afternoon Saturday, dozens of people stood in line socializing as they moved forward for a large glass of beer. Thousands of servings of beer were tallied by days end. By mid-afternoon, one vendor sold 1,000 servings of Bavarian weisswurst, a spicy, traditional veal sausage that was special-ordered for the event.

John Carr, owner of Adirondack Brewery, said that shutting down Canada St. for the festival was the key element in making this year’s Oktoberfest a far greater success than last year’s debut edition, held in the Beach Road parking lot.

“This is great for everyone in the village,” he said.

Gayle Nelson, coordinator of the craft shows, said that the turnout for Oktoberfest far surpassed expectations. She had earlier overseen a sack race, pumpkin painting and hula hoop contests for children.

“This is the best thing that ever happened here in Fall,” she said.”This is absolutely amazing.”

Mayor Blais expressed similar enthusiasm.

“This is going to grow and grow each year,” he said, noting that considering the Oktoberfest, he’s now planning to launch an Italian Festival with many of the same attributes, as soon as next September.

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