Legions of crowds will make their annual trek to Mainstrasse Village for Oktoberfest starting Friday but Latonia businesses are hoping for their own crowds in their part of the City for the first-ever Taste of Latonia, which is being put on in conjunction with the twenty-third annual Holy Cross Indian Summer Festival. "We're trying to follow the guidelines of the Taste of Cincinnati, Italianfest, Oktoberfest," said event promoter John Zurborg. "We want to try to build up something like that in Latonia." Local restaurants will serve up some of their popular items with Bard's Burgers, the Green Lantern (reopened under new management and expected to serve frog legs and fish), Giuseppe's Pizza, as well as local chains Skyline Chili and LaRosa's Pizza all participating. Additionally, the Taste of Latonia will feature Kentucky wines from Atwood Vineyard, Stonebrook, and Elk Creek.
As for the festival, there will be plenty of games and inflatable rides for kids as well as a raffle with a top prize of $10,000 or a 2-year lease on a Chevy Cruise. Two cover bands, Code 9 and Route 8, will perform. Church Street will be shut down for the event which runs Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00PM - 11:00PM. The festival is more than a party as it also aims to raise funds for Holy Cross High School to help control tuition costs. "(Holy Cross principal) Clay Eifert really wants it to be a Latonia thing as well," Zurborg said, adding that he and Eifert were both raised in the Covington neighborhood. "It was a great neighborhood to grow up in and we'd like to create a community event. It's good for the school to generate some goodwill toward the community."
Meanwhile, at the north end of town, tens of thousands of people will join in the annual festivities of beer drinking, food eating, game playing, ride riding, booth shopping, and celebrating all things German as Mainstrasse Village kicks off another Oktoberfest. Kim Blank, executive director of the Mainstrasse Village Association, says visitors can expect newer bands and a repeat of the popular chalk art contest from Maifest. The ceremonial tapping of the first keg takes place Friday evening at the Goose Girl Fountain and will feature City Commissioner and mayoral candidate Sherry Carran doing the honors. Blank said that part of the event will see some small changes after a bizarre case last year in which the organization was cited by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for handing out free beer after Mayor Chuck Scheper tapped the first keg. Though the MSVA got off with just a warning, Blank will ensure there will be no repeat so part of the area will be fenced off and those imbibing from the first keg will have to pay a small amount of money. Oktoberfest runs from Friday evening through Sunday night.