The flavours of Bavaria are coming to Ottawa as Sparks Street hosts its first Oktoberfest.
Joseph Paul Webb, Centretown News
Janaki Mody, owner of Parliament Pub, has themed her menu around Oktoberfest.
This festival is one of many that have been introduced this year to bring more foot traffic to the pedestrian mall. It will run from Friday to Sunday.
“We decided it would be great to throw a little a little Oktoberfest on Sparks Street,” says Kevin McHale, programming and events coordinator for Sparks Street Business Improvement District.
The group says it doesn’t know how popular the festival will be with local residents. However, its first New Years Eve celebration last year was a big enough hit that it will be returning again this year.
“There is a little bit more than drinking beer,” says McHale. “It is just a great time; there is a great mix of food, beer games, music, and fun.”
The purchase of a $5 Sparks Street Oktoberfest pin is required to play the games. Proceeds go to the Ottawa Food Bank.
“Hopefully it will be busy, and the weather should be good,” says Janaki Mody, owner of Parliament Pub. “The festivals seem to be growing, so I think a lot of people will come.”
Mody finds running a business on Sparks Street difficult, with construction on both the north side of the street and Queen Street. Public Works and Government Services Canada owns most of Sparks Street’s north side where many buildings are being renovated. This has caused problems for business owners, as less people come to the street and office workers leave in the evening.
“It is not a destination for people right now, I don’t think. Hopefully that will change,” says Mody.
While some people are celebrating Sparks Street’s festivals, others aren’t so happy. The events put a dent in the farmer’s market held on Sparks Street, which ends its season on Friday.
“I found that when there was a festival, we had to close that week so the majority of the people thought we had closed our market,” says Joanna Just from Just Farms in Alexandra, Ont. “In a way, I found it did not increase our business because they thought we were closed.”
“I can understand how it is a little frustrating for them once they are set up,” says McHale, who says the market was moved twice for Buskerfest and Ribfest this year.