Boyertown's annual Oktoberfest will provide a weekend of crafts, food and entertainment for borough residents.However, the event may also result in lengthy hikes for some who rent spaces at the inner core parking lot located at the intersection of South Reading and East Philadelphia avenues, where this year's event takes place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 9.

"There will be partial parking on Friday and no parking on Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight," said Janice Renninger, who rents such a space. "You're paying all year round to park and you're guaranteed to park in the lot."

A life-long Boyertown resident, Renninger, is against the choice of location.

She has used the parking lot and has lived in her apartment for 40 years.

The lot can hold about 110 spots, estimated Boyertown Borough Mananger Pat Spaide.

While the event is not subject to debate, the choice of location Oktoberfest has raised questions by some in the community.

The inner core parking lot, where many tenants in adjacent apartments must pay to park their cars overnight, became this year's location for the event.

In an August letter to the editor, W.C. Richards questioned the decision to hold the annual Oktoberfest in the inner core parking lot.

"Due to this event, is the taking away of the parking spaces (paid monthly by businesses and residents) to Boyertown Parking Authority, right and proper?" Richards asked.

Event Chairperson Jeff Karver responded to Richards' letter the following issue.

"'Oktoberfest in Boyertown' is a fundraising event sponsored by Building a Better Boyertown," Karver responded. "We've raised an excess of $5,000 to date through the support of a number of local sponsors, and we hope to raise one or two thousand dollars more on the date of the event."

Karver explained through the event, the group planned to raise several thousand dollars.

If the organization can accumulate a cash reserve totaling $60,000 by the end of 2009, the state will contribute a $60,000 matching grant to the borough.

BBB has already accumulated funds of approximately $40,000 toward its goal of $60,000, Karver said. Projects like Oktoberfest will help the group reach its goal and obtain the matching funds.

However, similar to tenant concerns, some local stores that utilize the inner core parking lot may have to close on the Saturday of the event, due to no easily accessible parking.

In the case for parking the night of Oktoberfest, Renninger says she has a parking spot staked out, in case she'll have a hard time parking during the weekend.

Some of the spots are leased out to tenants in nearby apartments, while some are reserved for businesses.

Tenants pay $15 a month for their parking spot, or $180 annually.

This money is paid to the Borough of Boyertown, which makes an estimated $12,000 annually, Spaide said.

She added that the Oktoberfest was a BBB proposal and the borough authorized the use of the inner core parking lot, which was suggested by BBB.

Renninger estimated 57 cents for the cost of the day of Oktoberfest.

She said she was interested in getting refunded 57 cents for not using the parking lot.

"I'm asked 'what can you do with 57 cents?' I think there's a lot you can do with 57 cents," she said, referencing the cost of a newspaper or a linen cloth she bought at a yard sale, which she ironed and donated to the Krafty Ladies, who in turn sold the linen for $10 that went towards a cancer foundation.

The Krafty Ladies is a group of volunteers out of Walnut Woods that raise money for cancer foundations.

In a press release issued by Building a Better Boyertown, "Oktoberfest in Boyertown" will be a celebration of German heritage serving beer brewed by Sly Fox brewery, wine bottled Blair and Manatawny Creek Wineries and soda (at a minimal fee) in a version of "beer tent." The Boyertown Farmers' Market and an art and craft fair, to include live glass blowing by Taylor Backes, Hex sign painting by Eric Claypoole, as well as other local artist and crafters will occupy the entire parking area from 10 a.m. until the early evening.

In the late afternoon and into the evening, a G&K Entertainment will play music for everyone's enjoyment. Foods prepared by various local eateries such as Sweet Beginnings, Carmelo's, CD's and Haas's will be offered.

This event will be a fund-raising effort for Building a Better Boyertown.

All alcohol sales and consumption will be monitored closely by the sale of wristbands with proof of age.

Consumption of alcohol by a minor or excessive drinking will not be tolerated.

Contact editor Matthew Reichl at 610-367-6041, ext. 240 or mreichl@berksmontnews.com

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