Is Wolff’s Oktoberfest stomping on LarkFEST? Matt Baumgartner’s German love child turned one last Saturday and boy did he get much much bigger. The 2009 edition was a success but I guesstimated at least 3 times more people showed up this year to engulf a record-breaking amount of beer and sausage. Best of all, everybody seem pretty well behaved, I saw more obnoxious drunks the week before on Lark. Victim of its success, the event experienced a few issues to cope with the sheer demand for alcohol and Porta-Potties. Bringing an estimated 7,000 people together, Matt and his hard-working army should be commended for yet another great opportunity to enjoy Albany.
More photos below. Disclaimer: I was buzzed and shot half of these one-handed. But mostly buzzed, really :) Click on a thumbnail to open a larger view, or check the whole series as a full-screen Flickr slideshow.
Last Saturday was not a good day to make peace with a bad case of agoraphobia. What a crowd; this 180° panorama below was taken from the roof of Wolff’s around 6pm. The perspective is messed up but this chunk of Broadway is packed with people as far as the inebriated eye can see. Check a larger view on Flickr.
K and I showed up a bit late unfortunately; we missed Miss Oktoberfest Competition, the Weiner Dog Race, and the Wurst Eating Competition. By 4pm the line to get a beer was a dense 12-foot human wall, but half-a-liter later we were feeling much more comfortable ambling through the crowd. Below, a long awaited ticket vs. beer exchange.
Of course it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without a beer contest. Last year’s boot chugging competition was gruesome (exhibit A, B, C) and fun (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4). I saw only one round this year, but it felt more tame since two people could go at the same boot as a tag team. I don’t know if my camera is rated against projectile vomiting but that discovery will have to wait. My friend Karen has a lot more photos of the beer contests, including some female teams (go AASRD).
Also new this year at Oktoberfest was the Weiner Dog Race. The competition was a 60 foot race, and there were about a dozen dachshunds scheduled to participate in 3-4 heats. I was not on Broadway at that time, but I hear it was fun (here is a video at AlbanyAlive.com). I caught up later on with a couple participants and their handlers. Or vice-versa. Below, one of the little guys. Warning, there is some R-rated tongue action in one of the thumbnails.
I wasn’t that hungry, but things changed pretty quickly when I bumped into this masterpiece below. I had tried its little brother earlier, but as soon as I saw this guy get out of the deep fryer, I knew it was born to be in my mouth. It had my name on it, and then some. I emptied my pockets and claimed my prize. I love me some cider donuts, a technology we don’t have in France, but this, believe me, was no donut, it was much much better. I can’t actually recall what it was, my brained ceased to record outside activity for a few minutes, but I would say Pretzel dough and crack sugar.
I don’t know who this young lady below is, but I bet she approves this message. I took a few pictures of people with generous faces that day (and/or great hair, blame it on the beer), maybe you will find yourself in the thumbnails. If this is a problem, let me know, and I’ll Photoshop something instead, most likely a bald eagle.
Just to prove that Matt Baumgartner was not in the back browsing the Internet for his new money shower, here is a photo of the man helping out. I think he is wondering how he is going to serve about a hundred people in front of him. The guy was everywhere.
We stayed about an hour before I (carefully) drove us back. I was left wondering how many blocks Wolff’s Biergarten would have to close to top this extravaganza in 2011. Somebody might as well just run for mayor and close the whole town. Here is another rich idea: comes September, rename this portion of Broadway to Lark St., put a stage at both ends, and you will make a few people in Center Square less cranky.
Wolff’s Oktoberfest is an event I’m enjoying every year. I spent a memorable year of my life in Berlin (Germany) back in the 90′s, and the biergartens were part of this great experience. Thanks for bringing these memories back.
I’m sure there are a lot of photos online, feel free to send me your links. Here are a few pictures from my roller derby buddy Sin & Tonic, a bazillion more can be found in her photoset.
The photos I took of Wolff’s Oktoberfest 2009 can be found here.
See you next year at Wolff’s Biergarten, 895 Broadway, Albany, NY.