The Board of the Germantown Historical Society has decided to not participate in the Germantown Oktoberfest this year because it is being held in Clarksburg at High Point Farm and not in Germantown.
The Germantown Oktoberfest was created by the Germantown Alliance 30 years ago in order to foster community identity and local camaraderie. Moving it out of Germantown defeats the purpose of the festival.
The reason given by a spokesperson from the county for the change of venue was the traffic problem created by the event, the Montgomery County Parks Department increasing the rental fee for the park to $5,000, and that no other adequate place in Germantown could be located for the event by the Oktoberfest Committee.
It is sad to lose our last festival. In the past, Germantown has had, in addition to the Oktoberfest, a Spring Festival, Independence Day Parade, fireworks, athletic teams and farmers markets. Germantown now has no festivals, parades, celebrations of any kind that would highlight our community and bring together our residents.
Our neighboring incorporated City of Gaithersburg has several yearly festivals, weekly farmers markets, and a local recreation department. Maybe it is time for Germantown to incorporate into a city that would give us the self government and autonomy that we do not seem to have under the direction of the county government.
In the meantime, the GHS is offering to serve on the Oktoberfest Committee and do all that it can to bring the festival back to Germantown in the future.
Susan Soderberg, Germantown
The writer is the president of the Germantown Historical Society.