Riverdale Park Brings the Community Together in its First Oktoberfest

By Taneen Momeni 

Live music, beer and face paint transformed The Station as community members participated in Riverdale Park’s first Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 12. 

Both sides of Van Buren Street, between Whole Foods and Denizens Brewing Co., were closed from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. With festivities planned for the entire day, the first half was dedicated to activities for children, and the second half was for adults. 

“We need to create events to interact with other people,” James Speyer, president of Cafritz Enterprises, said. “This is a good event to do on an annual basis where we really say thank you to the local community for supporting us.” 

Denizens Brewing Co.’s events manager collaborated with The Station (previously Riverdale Park Station) and Cafritz Enterprises to create this event to interact with and introduce themselves to the community, said Emily Bruno, the founder and chief administration officer of Denizens. 

“It’s a very close knit community, so it’s been very fun to get to know the different community leaders, and I’m excited to see it as The Station develops,” Bruno said.

To stay within the tradition of Oktoberfest, the brewing company kept all of their “seasonal lagers on draft,” as they would do in Germany, and served those drinks outside, Bruno said.

While the adults indulged in the locally-crafted beer, the children had their own areas to have fun and be creative.

Kelsey Easter, a Riverdale Park resident, played cornhole and made masks with her three children.

“We came because we saw the advertisement before and it’s a nice day,” Easter said. “And we were looking for something to get out of the house.”

Other activities included pumpkin decorating, glitter tattoos and face paint and a strolling performer who walked on stilts, juggled, unicycled and performed other feats for the children. 

The artists and the performer came from the same company, Face Works Events. The company travels around to Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania parties and other events, according to their website. 

The face paint was a hot spot for children and adults, with the line extending halfway down the road as more people showed up to the event.

“I do [like seeing the kids’ reactions], but when I’m busy like this, I don’t have a chance,” Annette Abramson, the founder and featured artist of Face Works Events, said. “I just send them to the mirror.”

The performer was able to interact more with the children as they crowded around her when she towered over them on stilts, helped her collect her bowling pins and balls as she juggled and chased her when she rode on her unicycle.

Cru, a 1-year-old boy, waddled his way to the strolling performer and attempted to reach for one of her fallen bowling pins. His mother, Tami Lee, watched from the corner, allowing him to roam free and safely. 

“[We came] for the kids stuff, even though he is a little young for it, and it’s close to us, it’s very close to where we live,” Lee said.

Throughout the event, scheduled bands set up on the stage at the end of the street and filled the plaza with music. Featured artists were Half Pint Harrys, Loose Ties, After the Flood and DJ Diyanna Burton, each performing two-hour-long sets. 

Loose Ties, an Annapolis-based band, performed a mix of original songs and covers of Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and other artists. 

Their folk and indie sound and personable stage presence attracted parents and children taking a break from the other activities around the plaza. 

“It’s a good event for the various businesses, tenants and retailers here,” Speyer said. “To better understand what the needs are of the local community.” 

Featured Photo Credit: Taneen Momeni/Bloc Reporter.

Taneen Momeni is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at taneenm@gmail.com.

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