From left, Nina Paulina, Tilda Eger, Helmut Gruber, Sophie Kastner & Fritz Kastner hold up pints of beer at the "Race For Beer" during the 6th Annual Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk at Steel Stacks. (Yufei Zou/B&W Staff)

Oktoberfest celebrates fall tradition at SteelStacks

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The Race For Beer at the 6th Annual Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk at Steel Stacks. Main Gate. (Yufei Zou/B&W Staff)

Families, friends and runners came to the SteelStacks on Sunday, Oct. 6 to participate in the sixth annual Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K run/walk. 

More than 1,000 people participated in the race hosted by the local nonprofit ArtsQuest. The run raised money for  Oktoberfest, the free festival that occurs during the first two weekends in October.

Mark Demko, senior director of communications for ArtsQuest, said this is the sixth year ArtsQuest has done the 5k race.

“We find that it’s really a draw for people who take their training and their running seriously, as well as others who are looking for a fun way to get out with family and friends and just enjoy Bethlehem during a beautiful time of the year,” he said. 

To celebrate the Oktoberfest theme, some people chose to run in gear like lederhosen. The competitors get t-shirts and Yuengling Oktoberfest 24-ounce beers. New to this years’ celebration was root beer for participants who are under 21 years old.

Matthew Brown, who ran for the second year in a row, came in second place.

“I don’t actually drink at all but I love coming to these things,” Brown said. “Just big atmosphere, you see all these guys here, they’re all dressed up in lederhosen, all these smiles, they’re just all here having a good time.” 

After the race, people can walk over to the festival portion of the celebration, which includes live music, German cuisine, games and local sellers with booths displaying products. 

Ted Schlosberg plays the alp horn and has come to Oktoberfest for the past eight years. He gave short lessons to children at the festival. 

“The first time I came they had a big ferris wheel and the next year they didn’t do it, but now they’ve expanded in the activities for children and adults,” he said. “The food is awesome, one place I really like in particular is wiener schnitzel, real german style cooking, and its terrific. They have all kinds of wonderful beers here, so if you like beer, this is really the place to come to try different varieties.” 

Schlosberg is passionate about what he does, and he said this was his first year teaching at the festival.

“I hope that they want to do it again next year, but I would do it every day,” Schlosberg said.  

Oktoberfest will continue the weekend of Oct. 12-13. 

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