Posted: Oct 8, 2011 1:06 PM
Source: Associated Press
KENNER, La.- For the first time since 1928, Deutsches Haus will hold Oktoberfest someplace new: Kenner's Rivertown.
The organization's former home in the city's Mid-City neighborhood was torn down in May because of the planned University Medical Center. The temporary location on Ridgewood Drive in Metairie is not big enough to handle Oktoberfest.
The German heritage society has a deal with the state to buy a 4.5-acre site and is working on plans for a new clubhouse and beer garden that could open in time for Oktoberfest 2013.
This year's festival runs six days over two weekends - Oct. 14-16 and Oct. 21-23.
"We're really looking forward to them coming to Kenner," said Mayor Mike Yenni, who will tap the first keg of beer at the festival. "We hope they stay here for quite some time."
The Mid-City space was about 30,000 square feet, and the Kenner location, in buildings and a parking lot, is three times as big, said Deutches Haus chairman Keith Oldendorf.
Puppet shows will be displayed at Rivertown's Children's Castle, which will be renamed Ludwig's Castle for Oktoberfest. Ludwig was a prince of Bavaria whose wedding celebration is credited as the first Oktoberfest, Oldendorf said.
The festival's trek to Rivertown could be the start of a renaissance for the struggling eight-block historic area in south Kenner. Because of low tourism traffic, many Rivertown staff members have been laid off and the museums are open by appointment only.
Oktoberfest will "give us huge exposure," said Gail Yeadon, president of Friends of Rivertown.