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Honoring German traditions at Oktoberfest in Warren this weekend

Trumbull County Historical Society’s Oktoberfest on the Square returns as an in-person event on Saturday, but a pick-up option also will be available.

TCHS Director Meghan Reed said they waited longer than usual to announce the event, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Courthouse Square in downtown Warren, to make sure an in-person festival was possible.

“We were grateful and shocked to have so much support for the drive-thru event last year,” Reed said. “But we want people to associate the event with being on the square and having music and camaraderie.”

It also recognizes one of the ethnic groups that settled in the Mahoning Valley.

“We hear a lot about the Italians and the Greeks because they were the key immigrant groups coming over when the mills were really booming,” Reed said. “But there were a couple waves of immigration, and in the 1830s and ’40s there was a huge wave of German immigrants. That community was already pretty heavily embedded in the area because of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and it didn’t cause as much of a community cultural shift as some of the other immigrant communities.”

Past attendees will notice a few changes. Organizers are replacing the buffet line featured at past in-person events with a box meal that will include bratwurst and sauerkraut from Cockeye BBQ, green beans with spaetzle from Mijavek Catering, peppers and onions from Saratoga Restaurant, German potato salad from the historical society and strudel from Mocha House.

“A lot of community festivals turn into funnel cakes and food trucks,” Reed said. “From the food to the beer, we try to keep things as authentically German as possible.”

Adult tickets include two drink tickets, and festivalgoers will have a variety of beers from which to choose. In addition to Modern Methods Brewing Company, which has been involved with the event since its inception, this year’s Oktoberfest also will feature beers from Clubhouse Brewery in Warren Township, Paladin Brewing in Austintown, Noble Creature Cask House in Youngstown, Birdfish Brewing in Columbiana and Sandy Springs Brewing Company in Minera. Each brewery will be serving two different beers.

“We ask them to bring an Oktoberfest beer if they have it made and ready to roll, and they get to choose the second beer,” Reed said.

Those who opt to pick up their meal to go will get two cans of Modern Methods beer with each order, Reed said, and they can pick up their meals at the festival or call when they arrive and have them brought to their cars.

The Youngstown Saxon Club Brass Band will provide live entertainment, and pony rides will be available for children between 4 and 6 p.m. The grape-stomping contest will continue, and the alp horn blowing contest will be replaced by a yodeling contest this year.

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