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Dancers at an Oktoberfest in Franklin Lakes in 2009.
Dancers at an Oktoberfest in Franklin Lakes in 2009.
Posted: Thursday September 15, 2011, 11:20 AM
Oktoberfest: Bogota bar kicks off the season in North Jersey
By Kara Yorio of The Record

More than 100 pounds of different wursts are ordered, and the German beers are selected. Andy's Corner Bar in Bogota is ready for its annual Oktoberfest celebration.

"It's the only specialty day I really enjoy myself," says Andy's owner George Gray, whose Oktoberfest is Saturday. "I see a lot of people that I haven't seen or I don't see very often. It seems that everybody tries to make it in for this."

And everybody means everybody. No need to get a babysitter.

"It's not a drunkfest," says Gray. "People come with their kids. One year we got a picture of strollers lined up against the building."

Andy's Corner Bar is not the only Oktoberfest event in the area. Many are more fall festivals than focused strictly on German heritage, food and drink.Most are free to attend, but obviously there are charges for food, drink and, in many cases, activities like hayrides.

There is no hayride in Bogota. It may be a family event, but it is about enjoying the people, food and, of course, the beer. For the Andy's crowd, Oktoberfest is more than a one-time event and a chance to get together and enjoy some German brews — it's an unofficial kickoff into the best beers of the year.

"Traditionally summer beers tend not to be the most flavorful beers in the world, and most of my customers are beer geeks," says Gray. "The fall starts all the really good beers leading up into the winter beers, which tend to be the most exciting in the beer world."

On Saturday, Gray will serve six or seven German beers and fill in with American Oktoberfest fall beers.

Leo Jordan of Clifton is one of many in the area who love Andy's annual event. This year, however, Jordan is working the event as the guitar player for Carlos Colina and Straight Up, which after years of trying finally scored the gig.

Jordan is "thrilled" to be playing Andy's Oktoberfest, and Colina relishes the opportunity.

"I hope it'll expose us to a new audience," says Colina, who also happens to be the mayor of Emerson. "When you do that, there's [also] the challenge of winning them over."

Colina and Jordan aren't worried, though. They say their music spans a multigenerational crowd with its blues, swing and contemporary tunes. Their improvisational nature is something that Jordan says a crowd of beer connoisseurs will enjoy as well.

"This is not a frat party," says Jordan of Andy's Oktoberfest celebration.

And Colina adds that the band knows — and happily accepts — it isn't always "the" show, satisfied being the soundtrack to a day of good food, good beer and good times.

E-mail: yoriok@northjersey.com

FESTIVALS THROUGHOUT THE REGION

In chronological order:

Andy's Corner Oktoberfest

  • WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday(Band goes on at 2)
  • WHERE: Andy's Corner Bar, 257 Queen Anne Road, Bogota
  • HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor event with live music, six or seven German beers and traditional German fare
  • FOR MORE INFO: andyscornerbar.blogspot.com

Bear Mountain Oktoberfest

  • WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m. weekends and Columbus Day from Saturday to Oct. 30
  • WHERE: Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, N.Y.
  • HIGHLIGHTS: German food, beer, entertainment and craft vendors. There is an $8 parking fee.
  • FOR MORE INFO: palisadesparksconservancy.org

54th Annual German American Steuben Parade

  • WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
  • WHERE: Fifth Avenue from 67th to 86th streets, Manhattan
  • HIGHLIGHTS: Music, floats and marchers. The subsequent Oktoberfest in Central Park is sold out. The parade's grand marshals are Travel Channel host Samantha Brown, German Secretary of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner, Director of Deutsche Welle Erik Bettermann and German Ambassador to the United States Peter Ammon.
  • FOR MORE INFO: germanparadenyc.org

N.J. Botanical Gardens Harvest Fest

  • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2
  • WHERE: N.J. Botanical Gardens, Ringwood State Park, 2 Morris Road, Ringwood
  • HIGHLIGHTS: Oktoberfest food, music and dancing, hayrides, pumpkin painting, face painting, storytellers, garden tour, autumn plant sale, craft fair and more. Unlike in past years, beer will not be sold.
  • FOR MORE INFO: njbg.org

8th Annual Oasis Oktoberfest

  • WHEN: 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 14
  • WHERE: McBride Field (across from the Market Basket), 813 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes
  • HIGHLIGHTS: This is a fund-raiser with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Oasis, a Paterson organization dedicated to feeding and clothing women and children, as well as offering the women educational resources and skills to help them find a job. For $150 per person, there will be German food, drink and music as well as a raffle for a BMW.FOR MORE INFO: oasisnj.org

Oktoberfest 2011, 30th Annual Craft Show at the Duck Pond in Demarest

  • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 (rain date Oct. 22)
  • WHERE: Between the Demarest train station and the Duck Pond, Demarest
  • HIGHLIGHTS: German music, food and soft drinks, Korean delicacies, inflatable games, canoe rides and a craft fair
  • FOR MORE INFO: demarestna turecenter.org

Dumont Oktoberfest Street Fair

  • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 22
  • WHERE: Madison and Washington avenues, Dumont
  • HIGHLIGHTS: Live bands and performances, vendors, trick-or- treating and rides. There will also be a Toys for Tots drive and anyone dropping off a donation will get free food from J&R's Twisted Tacos.
  • FOR MORE INFO: magicmarketerllc.com