City to celebrate German heritage with Oktoberfest

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 21, 2017

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Mount Clemens’ rich German history will be celebrated for three days this week during the Downtown Development Authority’s highly popular Oktoberfest.

The fifth annual Mount Clemens Oktoberfest will be held Sept. 22-24 in the downtown area, with local restaurants offering specials on German fare. There will be an expanded selection of craft and German beers, as well as live entertainment at the Biergarten Tent and, of course, the ceremonial Tapping of the Keg.

Michelle Weiss, director of the DDA, said returning this year is the Passport Pub Crawl Contest. Those entering can pick up a passport at any one of the participating restaurants: Abibo, Bath City Bistro, Orleans, O’Halloran’s Public House, Madison’s Pub, Your Mother’s Food and Spirits, Buffalo Wild Wings and Three Blind Mice. Participants will return to those restaurants Sept. 23-24 to get a stamp. No purchase is necessary, and those who fill their passport can turn it in for a chance to win a $500 gift card to the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth.

Weiss said Oktoberfest is still as popular as it was when it was held at Jager’s Castle Rock/Heidelberg on Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township. But it was bigger.

“It was held on 6 acres there,” she said. “Cars would be parked on both sides of Gratiot from just north of Mount Clemens to Hall Road. We have a rich German heritage in Mount Clemens.”

She said that in order to keep the audience eclectic, the bands booked to perform play both German music and modern music.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with it so far, and we try to keep it family friendly. It gets bigger and better every year, with more craft beers and more to do every year,” she said. “We have a lot going on; like with the Passport Contest. We didn’t want people to sit around under a tent all day. This way they’re walking around and experience all the retail businesses along the way.”

Weiss said there will be a large sign posted in a centralized area of the downtown area listing all the food specials at each of the restaurants, including at The Sweet Shoppe, which recently opened inside Gumbo’s. The Sweet Shoppe will be selling pastries and baked goods, as well as coffee and tea, under its own tent in front of Gumbo’s on Walnut Street.

The Biergarten Tent will be located at Macomb Place and southbound Gratiot Avenue, next to the Anton Art Center.

The live entertainment lineup includes The Polish Muslims from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, Big Daddy Lackowski & the La-Dee-Da’s from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 23, followed by 50 Amp Fuse from 7 to 10 p.m. The Immigrant Sons perform from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 24.

The Tapping of the Keg and Meet the Brewer Night, featuring Rochester Mills Beer Co., will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Biergarten. Rochester Mills will introduce the Amaretto Milkshake, a coffee-flavored Milkshake Stout brewed with Amaretto and aged in oak barrels. Brewmasters will then answer beer questions.

And there’s more.

“We will be introducing the bicentennial book for the city’s 200th birthday in 2018,” Weiss said.

She said the book, which covers the history of Mount Clemens, will be sold during the weekend, and book author Deborah Larsen will be on hand signing copies.

The Mount Clemens Lions Club will provide the bartenders for the weekend, and will receive a portion of the proceeds from beer sales in the Biergarten. Todd Seeburger, owner of Seeburger’s Cheeseburgers, will be serving food, as he has for the past five years.

Seeburger’s Cheeseburgers recently relocated from downtown Mount Clemens to its new location on Gratiot Avenue in Roseville.

Seeburger said even though his restaurant is no longer physically in Mount Clemens, Seeburger’s Cheeseburgers is still involved in community events like Oktoberfest and the recent Soap Box Derby, during which the car they sponsored won a first-place award.

During Oktoberfest, Seeburger will be serving up traditional Bavarian and German food such as knockwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad (served warm), deep-fried pretzel bites and freshly made onion rings. Nonalcoholic beverages will also be sold.

“I’m still in the community and still want to be involved,” Seeburger said. “And this is a great event, with a nice lineup of events. And there will be some cool entertainment.”

For more information, call the Mount Clemens DDA at (586) 469-4168.