A pair of Brookfield businesses has begun efforts to bring back the annual village-sponsored Oktoberfest in the fall, an event which hasn’t happened since 2004.
Representatives from Berthel-Lewis Electric and Irish Times recently pitched the idea of reviving the festival to the Brookfield Special Events Commission. According to Susan Berthel of Berthel-Lewis Electric, all the board members seemed supportive of the proposal.
“They all thought it was a great idea,” she said. “They were all for it.”
Both Berthel-Lewis Electric and Irish Times have been longtime supporters of Brookfield’s Oktoberfest. Berthel said her company had helped sponsor the event between 2002 and 2004, and when the village declined to hold an Oktoberfest last year, the Irish Times decided to hold a smaller version of its own.
Although that small-scale Oktoberfest was successful, Berthel said, this year they’re looking for village sponsorship so they can bring the celebration back to the level of years past. The two-day event would be held near Prairie Avenue on Burlington Avenue in front of Irish Times.
According to Berthel, the plan calls for a stage for live entertainment, and food vendor stalls lining the street. Although all of the details are tentative at the moment, Berthel said, they’re targeting the weekend of Sept. 30 as the date for the festival.
Berthel said their next step in official village approval for the event will be sending Village Manager Riccardo Ginex a letter requesting that the village board vote to approve village sponsorship. In the wake of the enthusiastic reception she received from members of the village’s Special Events Commission, Berthel said she felt confident the request would be approved, particularly if costs for the village were kept to a minimum.
To that end, Berthel said they will begin looking for other local businesses to help sponsor the festival, especially those on Burlington Avenue. Burke Beverage of LaGrange has already offered to be a sponsor for the event, she said.
Berthel, who is also a resident of Brookfield, said she is pushing to bring back the Oktoberfest not only to raise public awareness of her business, but also because she thinks it’s a great opportunity to bring the community together.
“It’s always been a great time,” she said. “It’s nice to have different events so the village can all come together and just enjoy the village.”
In addition to Oktoberfest, the Special Events Commission is planning its own one-day Art and Jazz Fest in Kiwanis Park in mid-September. The idea for that festival was hatched in the aftermath of the village’s decision to discontinue its annual summer music festival, Brookfest, earlier this year.