Welcome to Oktoberfest

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) - Thousands of people gathered downtown to participate in an international festival. although this version of the festival was tweaked with some southern hospitality.

"Prost," exclaimed pilot Matt Young.

The 6th Annual Oktoberfest in Aiken is a festival that celebrates culture, food, music, and beer.

"We usually have about 8,000 to 10,000 visitors from inside of Aiken as well as the surrounding areas. We even have some people from Germany here tonight," said Aiken Downtown Development Association Executive Director Haley Knight.

Pilot Matt Young has the first-hand experience of German culture.

He said, "I lived in Germany for about 3 years and so I traveled throughout most of Germany trying out different Oktoberfests in Munich, Stuggart, Kaiserslautern. Pretty much every city has an Oktoberfest."

For Young, the biggest difference between the festivals in Germany and Aiken is that southern hospitality.

"You know everybody is very welcoming. Trying to bring the German spirit here and then doing a bit of a Southern twist. Everybody's trying to do their own little twist on Bavarian tradition," said Young.

Although beer is a big part of Aiken's Oktoberfest, Knight and Young both agree the festival has a bigger meaning.

"To be able to see so many people enjoy downtown and just our city, they come, with it being on a Saturday, they stay the whole weekend. They enjoy our shops and our dining. Stay at some of our local hotels so it makes me feel very very honored to be an Aikenite and to actually have people see Aiken how I've always seen it."

Young added, " Everybody can be separated by the little things. Festivities like this can bring everyone together."

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