Remsen announces cancellation of annual Oktoberfest event

Thursday, August 6, 2020

REMSEN — A difficult decision was made last week by members of the Remsen Oktoberfest Committee to cancel this year’s event which was slated to be held Saturday, Oct. 31.

An announcement of the cancellation was made on Tuesday, July 28 through the Remsen Oktoberfest Facebook page, which stated, “Due to the unknowns involving the COVID-19 "Pandemic" the Oktoberfest Committee is saddened to inform you that we will not be holding this years event. We truly appreciate all of the support from everybody over the years and we look forward to seeing you next year for the 47th/48th annual Remsen Oktoberfest October 30th, 2021.”

Mike Matgen, co-chair of Oktoberfest’s entertainment committee, said even though the vote was unanimous it was still a hard one to make.

“It was a very hard and emotional decision for everyone because this event has been going on for 47 years,” Matgen said. “We looked at many options including doing it full on, offering a carry out option, and in the end we just decided it was best to cancel it all together because we don’t know what the guidelines will be at that time.”

Matgen said on average 1,200 people are fed during the event’s annual Family Dinner.

“We bring in up to $5,000 from the event each year that we then turn around and donate half of the proceeds back to the community,” he explained. Over the years those donations have went to organizations including the VFW, Remsen churches, the schools, and the city’s parks.

“We just couldn’t guarantee if we were going to make any money or not and we didn’t know if we would be able to find volunteers at this time. We just couldn’t risk it,” Matgen shared, stating it takes around 150 volunteers to make the event happen.

While the decision to cancel Oktoberfest seems to have come early, Matgen explained it was necessary in terms of planning.

“We had to start lining up food in regards to quantity and with all the CDC guidelines and social distancing regulations, we just weren’t sure how many people would actually come to the event.

“In the end the event is about giving back to our community and if we weren’t able to hardly make any money, it wouldn’t have been worth it,” Matgen concluded.