Warren holds first Oktoberfest

WARREN – The Trumbull County Historical Society made history Saturday when it hosted its first Oktoberfest on the Square in downtown Warren.

Mayor Doug Franklin christened the event by tapping a beer keg and shouting “O’zapft is!”

The phrase means “it is tapped” and signals the beginning of Oktoberfest in Germany. It is followed by singing, traditional music and, of course, toasts with raised mugs of brew.

The society brought the event to Warren to celebrate German culture in an effort to reach some of the historically untapped groups that helped put Warren on the map, said organizer Meghan Reed.

“We have been looking to expand and broaden our scope,” Reed said. “We wanted to focus on populations we haven’t focused on before.”

Waves of Deutschlanders made their way into Warren in the 1830s and 1840s, Reed said, and the history of their influence on the area is not as well-documented as other groups of people that settled in Trumbull County.

The rain held off and a decent-sized crowd poured into the fenced-in block of the Square, where Reed said she expected to fully sell out tickets. The proceeds from the tickets, which were $30 at the door, will support the society’s programs and events, Reed said.

With beer cheese and pretzels from the owners of The Lime Tree, German potato salad from The Speakeasy and bratwursts from the historical society, festival-goers had more than beer to swallow.

But when it came to beer, the festival juxtaposed the old with the new. Self-proclaimed beer-lover Adam Keck said he lined up a beer selection for the festival, including wheat beer from Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery. And Austintown’s year-old Paladin Brewing set up shop with its Sir Kenneth Blonde Ale. Although the brewery is relatively new, the beer creators follow the 16th-Century German Beer Purity Law, which limits the ingredients brewers can use, employee Bob Shott said.

Shott said Paladin’s beer is available in about 50 locations in Trumbull and neighboring counties and has no preservatives, additives or adjuncts – grains that aren’t the main mash of the beer’s recipe.

The festival also scheduled a grape stomping competition, a late-night disco party, music from the accordion toting Summitt Jammers and a king and queen of the hops.