Oktoberfest #045; Chesapeake style

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

CHESAPEAKE- For 3-year-old Sydni Smith, of Chesapeake, the annual Chesapeake Oktoberfest was a chance to get acquainted with Woody, the pony.

"We come every year," her grandmother, Shirley McCoy, said. "I like to sit and listen to the bands but she won't sit still."

Why sit still when Oktoberfest offered opportunities for frolic and food?

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Not far away, Marshall Graves, of Bro Marsh Bar-be-que in Huntington, W.Va., stood at the smoker, turning ribs and smothering the meat with a secret-recipe sauce. This was Graves' first year taking part in the festival.

"A friend of mine told me about it and I decided to give it a try," he said. "It's going pretty well."

The annual event, organized by the Chesapeake Area Citizens Coalition, raises money for the community's park. Coalition member Karen Musser said this year's attendance was the best ever.

"We've had wonderful weather and we've probably had more booths than ever before," Musser said. "We've had pretty heavy attendance all day."

Coalition members said more than 60 car owners brought their vehicles to the car show, and 18

people participated in the 5-K run earlier in the morning.

The one-day event brings in an estimated crowd of 2,000-3,000 people each year, but organizers say it is difficult to get an exact count because there is no admission fee.

Christina Viars of Chesapeake brought her son, Dakota Corns.

"They have a lot of stuff for the kids," Viars said as she watched Ashley Taylor, of Willow Wood, paint a design on Dakota's face.

"He likes to have his face painted." And what about Mom? "She likes the food," Viars laughed. "I'm pregnant."